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Ga. death row inmate executed

JACKSON, Ga., Nov. 14 -- Convicted triple murderer Larry Lonchar, who referred to himself as a 'cold-blooded killer,' was put to death Thursday in Georgia's electric chair after several hours of delay. Lonchar had been sentenced to die in 1987 for the slayings of Charles Wayne Smith, Steven Smith and Margaret Sweat over a $10,000 gambling debt. Lonchar, 45, who twice had cheated death through last-minute appeals, was pronounced dead at 12:39 a.m. EST at Georgia's Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson. The execution originally had been scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Lonchar's execution was delayed by 5 1/2 hours as the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal district court judge considered emergency appeals on his behalf. Lonchar's attorney, Clive Stafford Smith, said his client decided to launch another last-minute appeal after being taunted by a prison employee. 'He was going to go through with it, then he got mad,' Smith said. 'Most of the guards are decent people, but he felt one was making fun of him. Larry is not jerking the system around.' He had a history of appealing his death penalty just before sentence was to be carried out. In 1993, Lonchar was about a half-hour from a date in the electric chair when he decided to appeal for the first time. Less than a week later he did a turn-about and said he was ready to die. Then, in June 1995, Lonchar came within a minute of execution when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay because he had expressed a desire to donate his organs to a retired police officer who needed a kidney transplant.

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Lonchar had since dropped that appeal. A second Georgia death row inmate was scheduled to be executed Thursday night. Ellis Wayne Felkner was to be executed for the 1981 murder of a teenager. If Felkner's execution is carried out on schedule, it would mark the first time Georgia will have put to death two prisoners in the same week.

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