Update: July 10, 2014 7:07 pm EDT

 

Tommy Lee Waldrip was scheduled to be executed at 7 pm EDT, on Thursday, July 10, 2014, at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.  Tommy has had his sentence commuted.  Sixty-eight-year-old Tommy is convicted of murdering 23-year-old Keith Lloyd Evans on April 13, 1991, in Dawson County, Georgia.  Tommy has spent the last 19 years of his life on Georgia's death row.

 

Approximately 24 before his scheduled execution, the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles commuted the death sentence of Tommy to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  The board did not give a reason for their decision, although one of the reasons raised before the board included the proportionality of the sentence; Tommy was the one of three individuals convicted of the crime to receive the death penalty.

 

In 1990, Tommy Waldrip's son, John Mark Waldrip, was convicted of armed robbery in Cummings, Georgia.  Keith Evans, an employee at the store, testified against John Mark at his first trial.  John Mark, upon being granted a retrial in 1991, was released on bail.  Keith was scheduled to testify against John Mark at the retrial on April 15, 1991.  Robert Garner, who was also involved in the robbery, also agreed to testify against John Mark, which he had not done at the first trial.

 

On Saturday, April 13, 1991, the weekend before John Mark's retrial, Robert received phone calls from John Mark threatening him if he testified.  On the same day, around 10:30 pm, Keith's truck was forced off the road by John Mark and his father Tommy, who were driving Tommy's wife's car.  Two shots from a shotgun were then fired at Keith through the windshield of his car.  Keith was hit with birdshot in his face and neck.  Tommy and John Mark drove Keith, who was still alive, to a deserted road and beat him to death with a blackjack.  They then buried Keith in a nearby shallow grave and set his truck on fire. 

 

Around 12:30 am on Sunday morning, the fire was reported to the police.  Near the burning truck, police found an insurance card for the vehicle of Tommy's wife.  Further investigation revealed several items linking Tommy and John Mark to the crime.  On April 15, John Mark was arrested for violating his bond.  Also, Robert refused to testify against him because of the threats and Keith could not be found.  When questioned by police, Tommy and John Mark denied any knowledge of Keith's disappearance.  Tommy was arrested a few days later.  He first denied involvement, then alleged he was only a bystander, before fully confessing to the crime.

 

Tommy was convicted and sentenced to death.  John Mark was also convicted and given a life sentence.

 

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Keith Evans.  Please pray for peace and strength for the family of Tommy Waldrip.  Please pray that Tommy will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

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