JACKSON, Ga. – A Georgia man convicted of killing his parents and sister was executed Thursday after the courts decided to allow what experts say is the nation’s first video-recorded execution in almost two decades.
Andrew DeYoung, 37, received a lethal injection Thursday night at the state prison in Jackson after courts turned down his appeals.
A videographer with a camera on a tripod stood about 5 feet away from the gurney inside the execution chamber.
When asked to make a final statement, DeYoung said he was “sorry to everyone I hurt.”
When the three-drug injection began, DeYoung blinked his eyes and swallowed for about two minutes, then his eyes closed and he became still. He was pronounced dead at 8:04 p.m.
The execution was set for Wednesday but was pushed back a day as the state tried to block the video recording.
Lawyers for death row inmate Gregory Walker argued that recording DeYoung’s execution would provide critical evidence in his appeal about the effects of pentobarbital, which is the sedative now being used as the first step in Georgia’s injection procedure.
Walker’s attorneys want to show that pentobarbital does not adequately sedate the inmate and could cause pain and suffering.
In court filings, state prosecutors argued that having a videographer in the execution chamber would jeopardize the state’s carefully scripted security. They also said creating a video came with the risk of it being distributed.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane allowed the recording to take place, and that decision was allowed to stand by the Georgia Supreme Court. The video will be kept under seal by the court.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said it was up to the courts to decide the matter, though he told reporters following a news conference Thursday he had “grave reservations” about videotaping executions.