Willie James Pye Executed for 1993 Murder of Alicia Lynn Yarbrough

Willie James Pye, 59, was executed at 11:03 p.m. Wednesday for the murder of his former girlfriend, Alicia Lynn Yarbrough. The murder occurred in 1993. The most recent execution in Georgia was “January 2020.”

The background of Pye’s criminal actions discloses that he was convicted of the murder in November 1996. Pye was also convicted of “other serious crimes following Yarbrough’s shooting death.” The facts alleged by the prosecution regarding the murder of Alicia Lynn Yarbrough include that Pye and two accomplices engaged in “kidnapping, robbery, rape, and ultimately, murder.” Pye was found guilty of multiple charges and sentenced to death in 1996.”

As reported, leading up to the execution, “Pye’s legal team made a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the execution on procedural grounds and arguing against the state’s readiness to resume executions post-COVID-19. Justice Clarence Thomas denied his application for a stay.”

Pye’s defense  asserted many legal theories and alleged facts in Pye’s life to support the defense’s argument for clemency. The defense highlighted Pye’s “challenging upbringing marked by poverty, neglect, and abuse” and what the defense viewed as “inadequacies of the trial and the local public defender system at the time.” The defense also “contended that Pye was intellectually disabled, a condition that typically exempts individuals from capital punishment. However, their plea was rejected by the Georgia Parole Board.”

Reporting discloses that since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976, “Georgia has executed 75 men and one woman. Pye is the 54th individual to be executed via lethal injection in the state. Currently, there are 36 men and one woman awaiting execution under death sentence in Georgia.”

Protesters gathered outside the Georgia Capitol and outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison on Wednesday evening to make their voices heard about Pye’s execution. See photo of 11 protesters in front of the Georgia Capitol call for a stay of execution for Willie Pye on March 20, 2024. (FOX 5).

D & B Staff

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