BREAKING NEWS: Tommy Waldrip commuted to LIFE!

posted Jul 9, 2014, 4:24 PM by GFADP staff
We are thrilled to share some great news! Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued an order commuting Tommy Lee Waldrip’s sentence from death to life. We rejoice at this good news and express our bottomless gratitude to all who advocated for Tommy, particularly his extraordinary legal team. We keep both Tommy and the victims' family members in our hearts and thoughts.
Below is an article that offers some insight into the clemency petition that succeeded in moving the Parole Board to their decision. 

UPDATE: Waldrip’s death sentence commuted to life without parole
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia death row inmate Tommy Lee Waldrip has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison without parole a day before his scheduled execution on Thursday.
It is the fifth death sentence commuted by the parole board since 2002. The last inmate on death row in Georgia to be granted clemency was Daniel Greene. Greene’s sentence was commuted to life without parole on April 20, 2012, according to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Waldrip, now 68, is one of 28 men who have been on Georgia’s Death Row for more than two decades, frustrating prosecutors, law enforcement officers and relatives of victims. One inmate, Roger Collins, has been on Georgia’s Death Row since 1977 for a Houston County rape and murder. Yet, the national average for time spent on Death Row is 15 years.
Keith Evans, a college student working at a Cumming convenience store, had testified against Waldrip’s son in a 1991 trial, but the armed robbery conviction was overturned. Evans again was expected to be the primary prosecution witness.
Two days before the retrial was to begin, the two Waldrips and Howard Linvingston, the older man’s brother, ran Evans off the road as he was driving home after work on a Saturday night. First they fired buckshot through the windshield of Evans’ truck and then the younger Waldrip and his uncle drove the truck to another location in Dawson County, with Evans in the passenger seat. It was there that they beat him to death with a blackjack. The three took Evans’ body to neighboring Gilmer County and buried him. The truck was discovered burning on Highway 52.
Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said he was assigned to watch Tommy Waldrip, an immediate suspect, the next morning.
The sheriff said he was disturbed watching Waldrip go into the Harvest Baptist Church to a sanctuary where Carlisle’s wife and children were worshiping.
“How can you do something like this on Saturday night and go to church the next morning… and lead singing like nothing ever happened?” Carlisle said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
Waldrip was arrested on the third day after Evans was killed, linked to the crime by his wife’s car insurance card that was dropped near the burned truck.
Waldrip was sentenced to die on Oct. 28, 1994.
Attorneys for Waldrip argued that the sentences for the same crime were not proportional even though all three went to trial. Livingston, Waldrip’s brother, and the son, John Mark Waldrip, were both sentenced to life in prison. Testimony also showed that the son is the one who shot Evans and later beat him.
In announcing its decision, the board does not give a reason. Each member casts their votes in private and offer no reason and then the chairman tallies the votes.
The appointments with the board today were not open to the public but his lawyers also presented letters from members of a church that Waldrip establish just outside of Charleston, S.C., many years before Evans was killed.