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Execution date set for Georgia man convicted in 1992 murder of his mother's friend


ATLANTA — A Georgia death row inmate convicted of stealing checks from and then killing a friend of his mother is set to be put to death next month.

Brian Keith Terrell, 47, is scheduled for execution on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson said Monday in a statement.

Terrell was previously set for execution on March 10. But after Department of Corrections officials discovered a problem with the execution drug that was to be used in the execution of Kelly Gissendaner on March 2, they temporarily suspended all executions to allow time for an analysis of the compounded pentobarbital.

Gissendaner was executed Sept. 30 and another death row inmate, Marcus Ray Johnson, was executed Thursday. Terrell's execution would be the state's fifth this year.

Terrell was on parole in June 1992 when he stole 10 checks belonging to John Watson, 70, of Covington, and signed his own name on some of them, prosecutors have said. Watson was a close friend of Terrell's mother, and he and Terrell also knew each other.

Watson told Terrell's mother and sheriff's officials about the theft and agreed not to press charges if most of the stolen money was returned the next day.

Terrell had his cousin drive him to Watson's house and then he shot Watson multiple times as the older man was leaving for a dialysis appointment, prosecutors have said.

Terrell dragged Watson to a secluded area and severely beat him, prosecutors said. Bones in Watson's jaw, nose, cheek, forehead and eye socket were broken during the attack and some of Watson's teeth were knocked out. Authorities have said a piece of splintered bone also penetrated Watson's brain during the beating.

Prosecutors said Terrell took his son to the zoo after the attack and got rid of the gun there.

Terrell was indicted on charges of malice murder and 10 counts of forgery. Prosecutors said he also had been involved in an armed home-invasion robbery of DeKalb County drug dealers in 1990.

Terrell's first trial in Watson's death ended in a mistrial. He was convicted and sentenced to death in a second trial, but the conviction was overturned because of an error during jury selection. Terrell was tried again in Walton County after a change of venue from Newton County in 2001 and was sentenced to death.

The Newton County Superior Court set a seven-day execution window that starts at noon on Dec. 8.

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