Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016  12:05 am EDT

 

Gregory Lawler has been executed by the state of Georgia.  He was pronounced dead at 11:49 pm EDT, on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, after multiple appeals delayed the start of his execution.  Read more about Gregory and his case here.

 

Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016  11:20 pm EDT

 

The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected an appeal by Gregory Lawler.  Gregory's lawyers were arguing that he should not be executed due to being diagnosed with autism.

 

Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016  7:55 pm EDT

 

The start of Gregory Lawler's execution has been delayed due to ongoing appeals before the courts. 

 

Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016  11:00 am EDT

 

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has rejected a request for clumsy by lawyers representing Gregory Paul Lawler.  Gregory and his lawyers were arguing that a recent autism diagnoses should prevent him from being executed.  His lawyers are also alleging that Gregory was recently diagnosed with Aspergers, which is on the autism spectrum.  His lawyers are arguing that individuals with Aspergers often have difficultly interacting with others, which they claim, is the case with Gregory.   They are arguing that his execution is unconstitutional, as he is mentally incompetent.  

 

Updated: Monday, October 17, 2016  1:43 pm EDT

 

Gregory Paul Lawler's execution is scheduled to occur at 7 pm EDT, on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.  Sixty-four-year-old Gregory is convicted of the murder of Atlanta Police Officer John Sowa on October 12, 1997.  Gregory has spent the last 16 years on Georgia’s death row.

 

Gregory had, according to his brother and mother, a “normal middle-class childhood.”  Gregory had, however, experienced depression and anxiety.  After his arrest, he was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.  There is no record of mental health problems in his family history.

 

On the evening of Sunday, October 12, 1997, Gregory Lawler and his girlfriend Donna Rodgers were drinking at a bar near their apartment in Atlanta, Georgia.  Around 9:00 pm, the couple left the bar to walk home.  In the parking lot of a pawn shop, Lawler and Rodgers engaged in argument.  A witness reported the altercation to the police, as it appeared that Lawler was striking Rodgers, who was obviously intoxicated.  

 

Officers John Sowa and Patrica Cocciolone responded to the report.  They found Rodgers sitting on a curb with Lawler attempting to pull her to her feet.  As the police approached, Lawler left the scene.  The officers did not pursue, electing to help Rodgers to her home, which she said was only a short distance away.  

 

Rodgers took police to the apartment she shared with Lawler.  Lawler had already returned to the apartment.  The police escorted Rodgers to the apartment door, as she had difficulty standing.  Lawler opened the door after the police knocked and began screaming at the officers to “get the [expletive deleted] away from by door!”   Lawler then attempted to shut the door on the police.  Officer Sowa put out his hand to stop the door, telling Lawler that they wanted to make sure Rodgers lived at the apartment and would be safe.

 

Lawler grabbed an AR-15 rifle from next to the door and began firing upon the officers.  The officers fled for cover.  Several neighbors witnessed the shooting.  From shell casings, the police determined that Lawler fired 15 shots - three from inside the apartment and the rest from outside.  The bullets used by Lawler were designed to penetrate body armor.

 

Officer Cocciolone managed to send a radio distress call and more officers arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.  Officer Sowa was discover lying next to a parked car near the sidewalk while Officer Cocciolone was collapsed on the front yard.  Both still had their pistols snapped in their holsters.  Officer Sowa had been shot five times in the back, buttocks, and chest.  He was killed almost instantly.  Officer Cocciolone was shot three times in the head, arm, and buttocks.  She survived with permeant brain damage, among other injuries, and testified against Lawler at his trial.

 

After a six-hour standoff with police, Lawler surrendered to the police.  Multiple weapons were found inside the home and a co-worker testified that Lawler had spoken out against the police, saying he would be ready for the police if they ever tried to enter his home.  Lawler was sentenced to death in March of 2000.

  

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of John Sowa.  Please pray for peace and healing for Patricia Cocciolone, who still suffers from her injuries.  Please pray for strength for the family of Gregory Lawler.  Please pray that if Gregory is innocent, lacks the mental competency, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence be provided prior to his execution.  Please pray that Gregory may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

Scroll