State to weight clemency for Gregory Paul Lawler

Gregory Paul LawlerGregory Paul Lawler

ATLANTA — The State Board of Pardons and Parole will consider whether to grant clemency to a Buckhead man convicted of killing an Atlanta police officer.

Gregory Paul Lawler, 63, faces an Oct. 19 execution for the October 1997 slaying of Atlanta Police Officer John Sowa. The State Board of Pardons and Parole meets on Oct. 18.

According to prosecutors, Lawler opened fire on Sowa and  Officer Patricia Cocciolone after they went to his apartment while trying to help his drunken girlfriend get home. Officers encountered the woman after she was arguing with Lawler in a nearby parking lot, according to authorities.

Lawler was arrested after an hours-long standoff. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000.

If executed, Lawler will be the seventh inmate executed in Georgia this year and the 44th inmate put to death by lethal injection in the state.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Jan. 27, 2003, unanimously affirmed Lawler’s convictions and death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6, 2003, denied Lawler’s request to appeal; the nation’s highest court declined another appeal this year.

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