The state of Georgia's death chamber is in Jackson.
ATLANTA The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole on Tuesday delayed the planned execution of a former high school football player who was set to die this week for killing an ex-classmate in 1991, saying it needed more time to consider the condemned man’s case.
The decision grants Daniel Greene a reprieve of up to 90 days, though it could be lifted long before that. He had been scheduled to die on Thursday at the state prison in Jackson for killing 20-year-old Bernard Walker as Walker was rushing to help a store clerk who had been robbed and stabbed by Greene.
Greene’s attorneys didn’t immediately comment on the matter discussed at a closed-door hearing before the five members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. But the lawyers have argued that Greene didn’t remember committing the crime because he had smoked a cigarette earlier that day that may have been laced with a mind-altering drug.
Greene’s crime spree began on Sept. 27, 1991 with several visits to a Taylor County convenience store, according to court records. On the last visit, he robbed clerk Virginia Wise and then stabbed her through the lung.
Moments later, Walker entered the store and tried to stop the attack.
Greene stabbed his former classmate through the heart before speeding away, leaving Walker to die in the store’s parking lot. Wise survived her attack.
Greene went on to attack an elderly couple in nearby Macon County and another store clerk in Warner Robins before he was arrested at the home of an acquaintance.
In a videotaped interview, Greene confessed to the crimes and said he needed the money to buy crack cocaine. But he later said he couldn’t remember committing the crimes or giving a confession to police, adding an acquaintance had given him a cigarette that day that may have contained a drug.
Greene, who was a standout defensive lineman in high school, had to be tried in Clayton County because of all the media coverage in his hometown. He was convicted in December 1992 of murder, robbery and assault and was sentenced to death.
Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson, who went to school with Greene and Walker, said the murder devastated the close-knit middle Georgia community.
“Bernard Walker was an honest person. He was a hard worker. He was a good All-American kid. You couldn’t find a better guy,” he said. “And Daniel had never been in any trouble. Then all of a sudden he just snaps and goes on this rampage. It just left a lot of questions about why.”