Posted: Tuesday, June 24th 2014 at 1:54pm
Execution set for man in Dawson Co. death of trial witness
By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) A Georgia death row inmate convicted of murder in the slaying of a store clerk who was scheduled to testify against his son is to be executed next month, the state attorney general's office said Tuesday.
Tommy Lee Waldrip is set to die at 7 p.m. on July 10 at the state prison in Jackson, Attorney General Sam Olens' office said in a news release. A Dawson County jury in October 1994 convicted him and recommended the death penalty for the April 1991 killing of Keith Evans.
His execution date comes on the heels of the June 17 execution of death row inmate Marcus Wellons, which was the first in the United States since a botched April execution in Oklahoma.
Evans was a store clerk in Forsyth County and had testified in the 1990 armed robbery trial of Waldrip's son, John Mark Waldrip. The younger Waldrip was convicted, but he was granted a new trial and released on bond, according to Georgia Supreme Court records from Tommy Lee Waldrip's case. Evans was set to testify in the retrial.
On April 13, 1991, several days before the new trial, John Mark Waldrip called another witness and threatened to harm him if he testified.
Later that evening, Tommy Lee Waldrip, his son and his brother-in-law Howard Livingston ran Evans' truck off the road at a highway crossing in Dawson County and fired a shotgun through the windshield, hitting him in the face and neck, authorities said. Evans was still alive and the men drove him in his truck to another location, where they beat him to death, authorities said. Evans' body was buried in a shallow grave in Gilmer County and his truck was set on fire.
Authorities found an insurance card for Tommy Lee Waldrip's wife's car near the burned truck. Waldrip denied any involvement in Evans' disappearance in an interview the next day. But he was arrested a couple of days after that and later confessed to shooting and beating Evans and burning his truck. Authorities said he led them to Evans' body and the shotgun.
The next day, he said his son and brother-in-law had killed Evans and burned the truck and that he was just a bystander. In a third statement, he said all three of them were involved, authorities said.
John Mark Waldrip and Livingston are both serving life sentences in the killing.
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