Ivon Ray Stanley, a killer who buried his victim alive, died in Georgia's electric chair shortly after midnight Thursday but two Florida killers facing the nation's first double execution in 19 years a few hours later won temporary stays.
The Supreme Court rejected Stanley's final appeal at 11:47 p.m. EDT, 18 minutes before he was led into the death chamber at Jackson Diagnostic Center south of Atlanta.
Stanley, 28, a black high school dropout with an IQ of 81, was pronounced dead at 12:24 a.m. EDT.
He was the 21st man executed in the United States and the second in Georgia since the Supreme Court dropped its ban on the death penalty in 1976.
Stanley's grandmother, mother, brother and sister-in-law joined 17 other people in a grassy field outside the prison. At 12:15 a.m., the appointed time of Stanley's death,. a woman took a candle from his mother's hands and blew it out.
Stanley had no last words and refused to see a minister several times in the ours before he died. He was impassive and expressionless before the death hood was dropped over his face and the switch was thrown to send the deadly voltage through his body.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied a stay of execution for Stanley earlier Wednesday.
Late Wednesday the 11th Circuit Court granted a temporary stay for Jimmy Lee Smith, 30, and 2 hours later U.S. District Judge Eugene Spellman, of Miami, granted a reprieve for David Lee Washington, both of whom were scheduled to die one after the other beginning at 7 a.m. in the electric chair at Starke, Fla.
Both stays were temporary, however, and the Florida death warrants allow their executions up to noon on Friday.
Spellman granted Washington a stay until 6:59 a.m. EDT Friday to give the Atlanta appeals court time to consider his case. The Atlanta court ordered a 9:30 a.m. hearing Thursday on Smith's appeal.
Washington, 34, a former choir boy, high school drummer and confessed triple murderer whose 1976 violent rampage over 9 days stunned Dade County, was to have died first, followed by Smithj 7 a.m. Thursday.
Florida has already executed six men since 1976, more than any other state.
Washington is black; Smith is white.
Stanley was taken to Georgia's 'death watch' cell next to the death chamber at noon Wednesday, and authorities said his only request was for vanilla ice cream. His last meal also consisted of squash and peanut butter cookies.
In Florida, officials said Washington and Smith were in holding cells about 12 feet apart next to the death chamber. They could not see each other but could communicate if they wished. Apparently they had little to say to each other, according to prison spokesman Vernon Bradford.
Stanley and another man, Joseph Edward Thomas, 28, were convicted of the robbery-murder of Clifford Floyd, a prominent Bainbridge, Ga., insurance man who was robbed, beaten, shot and buried alive in 1976.
Thomas is still on Georgia's death row.
'He's innocent. As a child he was always looking to help someone,' said Eliza Yulee, the grandmother who reared Stanley, as she brushed back tears at a news conference at Atlanta City Hall Tuesday.
Mrs. Yulee said she once told Ivon to kill a chicken for a family meal, but he couldn't do it. She said he refused to retaliate when he was provoked by school bullies.
Stanley's father deserted the family before he was born, and his mother often treated him coolly, according to documents filed with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.