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Marion Wilson, Jr., Georgia

Marion Wilson, Jr., Georgia

June 20, 2019

Marion Wilson, Jr., has been executed by the state of Georgia on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Marion was pronounced dead at 9:52 pm EST, inside the execution chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison, located near Jackson, Georgia. Marion was 42 years of age. He was executed for his role in the murder of Donovan Corey Parks on March 28, 1996, in Milledgeville, Georgia. Marion spent the last 22 years of his life on death row in Georgia.

Marion was the 1,500th individual put to death in the United States of America since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Marion had a difficult childhood and was often neglected by his parents. His father abandoned them when Marion was young, and alcoholism was common in his family. Due to violence in the family, Marion was forced to move during his early school years. Marion’s mother eventually remarried, however, Marion was abused by his step-father. Marion struggled in school and did not receive the help needed. Marion became involved in crime at a young age and has a juvenile record.

On March 28, 1996, Robert Butts and Marion Wilson, Jr., took Butts’ vehicle to Wal-Mart, where they began searching for a victim. Butts and Wilson were observed entering the store and getting in a check-out line behind a man later identified as Donovan Corey Parks, a prison guard. Butts only purchased a pack of chewing gum.

Butts was observed asking Donovan if he could give Butts and Wilson a ride. Donovan agreed, moving items in his vehicle to make room for the two men. Donovan was found lying face down on a nearby residential street minutes later. Wilson alleges that Butts shot Donovan in the back with a shot gun. Nearby witnesses who heard the shot, thought it was a vehicle backfiring.

Butts and Wilson took Donovan’s vehicle to service station in Gray, Georgia, where they were caught on security camera refueling the vehicle. The duo then drove to Atlanta, Georgia and attempted to sell the vehicle to a “chop shop.” When that was unsuccessful, they purchased two cans of gasoline, drove to a remote location, and set the vehicle on fire. Then they walked to a payphone, and called Butts’ uncle to come pick them up and take them to retrieve Butts’ abandoned vehicle.

Wilson was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Several of Wilson’s appeals have argued prosecutorial misconduct, as the prosecutor insisted that Wilson was the killer at Wilson’s trial and that Butts was the killer at Butts’s trial. Additionally, at Butts’s trial, several people testified that they had heard Butts confess to the killing.

Butts was also convicted and sentenced to death one year after Wilson. Butts was executed on May 4, 2018.

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Donovan. Please pray for strength for the family of Marion Wilson, Jr.

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