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William Earl Lynd

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William Earl Lynd was executed by the state of Georgia on May 6, 2008.

Mr. Lynd was the first person to be executed in the United States since the US Supreme Court upheld lethal injection as an acceptable means of execution.

Case Background:

While any murder is inherently tragic and brutal, it appears that the jury in Mr. Lynd's case was misled by the prosecution to believe that the crime was even more brutal than scientific experts now believe. While this does not excuse the killings, the exact nature of the crime and degree of brutality is crucial to the charges that can be made against a defendant and the jury’s deliberation about the conviction and sentence.
The autopsy of Ms. Moore was conducted by Mr. Warren Tillman, a non-physician. Tillman testified at trial that Moore could have suffered a lingering, torturous death. Unfortunately, the Georgia Death Investigations Act was passed in 1990 after Mr. Lynd’s trial ended in February 1990. The Act requires that autopsies be performed by medical examiners who are licensed physicians. Mr. Lynd therefore did not have the benefit of this important law, which increases accuracy in homicide investigations. Medical experts, reviewing this case more recently, made a critically different set of observations and conclusions about the nature of the shooting. They hold that Mr. Lynd’s first shots killed Ms. Moore and that it is not possible for her to have still been alive when he put her body in his car. Mr. Lynd could not have been convicted of aggravated kidnapping, may have only been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and would not have been sentenced to death had such professional analysis been available. 
Additionally, the crime was not cold-blooded or premeditated. Mr. Lynd and Ms. Moore were high on Valium, marijuana and alcohol the day of the crime. The couple had a history of mutual domestic fighting, but fueled by substance abuse it escalated to a tragic level that day.