Marion Wilson, 42, was executed in Georgia for the 1996 murder of Donovan Parks, 24, an off-duty corrections officer studying to become an inmate counselor. A flurry of last-minute appeals couldn’t save Wilson, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In a final statement, Wilson said, “I ain’t never took a life in my life,” suggesting his co-defendant had pulled the trigger. Prosecutors said the motive to kill was to obtain elevated status in a gang.
Christopher Parks, brother of the victim, watched the execution, because, he said, seeing Wilson dead was the best chance for him and his family to begin recovering after 23 years without Donovan. Death penalty abolitionists often speak of how difficult years of delays are for victims’ families. Christopher Parks has heard those arguments, as well as arguments that the state shouldn’t kill even people who’ve done unspeakable things. Parks said he figures death-penalty opponents haven’t been through the type of torment his family has. His life is worse in so many ways without Donovan, he said. As Wilson’s attorneys tried to halt the execution, they asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider the inmate’s childhood. The lawyers said myriad traumas had left Wilson with neurological damage hampering his decision-making skills.