Clemency denied for Hittson, faces execution tonight

Travis Clinton HittsonTravis Clinton Hittson

ATLANTA — The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles yesterday denied clemency for Travis Clinton Hittson.

Hittson is to be executed at 7 p.m. tonight at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Ga., for the 1992 murder and dismembering of fellow Navy sailor Conway Utterbeck in Houston County. Hittson and Utterbeck were stationed on the USS Forrestal, a Pensacola, Fla.-based aircraft carrier, at the time of the crime.

A jury in February 1993 convicted Hittson of murder, theft by taking as a lesser offense of an armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The jury subsequently sentenced Hittson to death in March 1993.

A third sailor — Edward Vollmer — is currently serving life in prison.

Hittson’s direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings have been concluded. In Georgia, the Parole Board has the sole constitutional authority to commute or reduce a death sentence to life with the possibility of parole or to life without the possibility of parole.

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