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Crisp County death row inmate to appeal his case before state Supreme Court

CORDELE, Ga. -- A man sentenced to die after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting and strangling a 3-year-old boy to death is asking the state's highest court to overturn his conviction because, lawyers say, he was "stressed out" when he confessed.

Roger Lynn Loyd was indicted in 1999 for abducting and killing the toddler after the boy's mother left Loyd with the boy to go to a neighbor's house to use a telephone on Dec. 1, 1998.

According to information provided by the court Thursday, during jury selection, Loyd yelled out in open court that he was "ready to end this" and, above the judge and his lawyer's objections, said he wanted "to plead guilty to this crap today" without regard to the state was seeking the death penalty because "it doesn't matter to me if you give me what the state is looking for, because from what I done to the 3-year-old child, that's exactly what I deserve ..."

According to Georgia Supreme Court officials, Loyd's attorneys are now arguing his confession wasn't "voluntarily given," as required by law, when he yelled out in court because he was "stressed out" and on medication at the time.

They also argue he was misinformed by prosecutors that he could not withdraw his plea once it was entered, though under Georgia law a guilty plea can be withdrawn any time before sentencing.

Prosecutors counter saying Loyd entered his plea voluntarily and "fully acknowledged his guilt," and that his understanding of the plea was "crystal clear" when he made it.

The court is scheduled to take up the case at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Atlanta.

Loyd's lawyers also contend that he was brain-damaged during a crash earlier in his life and suffered from a variety of mental issues.

At sentencing, prosecutors presented evidence that in 1987 he entered a plea to the rape of a 13-year-old Illinois girl; admitted he daily molested a 4-year-old girl, and told police he'd molested probably 15 children, according to court officials.

Court documents state that Loyd first tipped off police about his potential involvement in the case as they were searching for the boy.

Loyd reportedly approached police and, according to the testimony of a detective, told police there was "no hurry" to search for the boy because "he's dead. I killed him."

Loyd then was able to take police to the site where he had apparently dumped the boy's body near the State Farmer's Market.

Court documents state that in statements to police Loyd told police that he killed the boy because his mother had rejected his romantic advances.