Scotty Morrow, Georgia

May 2, 2019

Scotty Garnell Morrow was executed by the state of Georgia on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Scotty was pronounced dead at 7:38 pm EDT, inside the execution chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia. Scotty was 52 years of age. He was executed for the double murder of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young, and her friend Tonya Woods, on December 29, 1994, in Gainesville, Georgia. Scotty spent the last 19 years of his life on Georgia’s death row.

Scotty had a sad childhood. While in elementary school, his family moved from Georgia to New York City, to escape his abusive father. While in New York City, Scotty was repeatedly raped by a teenager. As he grew up, his mother’s boyfriends were abusive to him and Scotty was bullied both at home and at school. Scotty also witnessed the physical abuse of his mother and emotional abuse of other family members.

In June 1994, Barbara Ann Young began dating Scotty Morrow. After several months of abusive behavior towards her, Barbara broke up with Morrow in early December 1994. On December 6, 1994, Morrow hit Barbara. On December 9, 1994, Morrow abducted Barbara, beating and raping her, before eventually letting her go. On December 24, 2019, Barbara expressed her fears to a neighbor that Morrow “was going to kill her.”

 

On December 29, 1994, Morrow and Barbara argued over the telephone, with Barbara wanting Morrow to leave her alone. Morrow, angered, showed up unexpectedly at Barbara’s house, armed with a handgun. At the home with Barbara was her friends Tonya Woods and LaToya Horne, and Barbara’s two young children - 5-year-old Christopher and 8-month-old Devonte.

 

Morrow entered the house and found the three women in the kitchen. Barbara and Morrow argued before Morrow shot Barbara in the stomach, severing her spine and paralyzing her. Morrow then turned and shot LaToya in the arm. Tonya fled to a bedroom. Morrow chased her, kicking open the bedroom door and the two fought for the gun, which went off and injured Tonya. Tonya attempted to flee, but Morrow caught her and shot her once in the head, killing her. A wound to her hand suggested Tonya attempted to shield her head.

 

Morrow returned to the kitchen and shot and killed Barbara. Morrow also shot LaToya, injuring her face and arm. Morrow then cut the telephone line and fled the house. LaToya was able to run to neighbor’s house and call for help, despite her injuries. LaToya survived, but was left with permeant injuries. She testified against Morrow at the trial. Five-year-old Christopher, who witnessed the shooting, also testified at the trial.

 

Following his arrest, Morrow confessed to the crime, saying he shot Barbara because he “wanted her to shut up.” Police also found the murder weapon in his backyard.

 

Prior to his trial, Morrow made it known that he was willing to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison, however, the District Attorney was unwilling to strike a plea deal. Morrow was convicted and sentenced to death in June 1999. Morrow’s death sentence was overturned by a lower court, after Morrow successfully argued that his trial lawyers failed to present sufficient evidence of his childhood abuse and trauma. The Georgia Supreme Court later reinstated Morrow’s death sentence.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Barbara Ann Young and Tonya Woods. Please pray for strength for the family of Scotty Morrow.

 

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