Atlanta, February 17, 2016 – The Supreme Court of Georgia has unanimously denied a stay of execution for Travis Clinton Hittson, who is scheduled to be put to death at 7:00 tonight by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, GA.
Hittson, 45, was sentenced to death in 1993 in Houston County for the murder of Conway Utterbeck. The two served together as Navy crewmen in Pensacola, Florida, on the U.S.S. Forrestal. In April 1992, Hittson and Utterbeck left Pensacola along with another Navy man, Edward Vollmer, to visit Vollmer’s parents in Warner Robins, GA. During the visit, Hittson beat Utterback with an aluminum baseball bat, then shot him in the head. Hittson and Vollmer then dismembered Utterback’s body, burying his torso in Houston County and the rest of his remains back in Pensacola.
In addition to denying Hittson’s motion for a stay of execution, the state Supreme Court has also denied his request to appeal a ruling yesterday by the Butts County Superior Court. That court both denied his motion for a stay and dismissed his claim that at his trial, the Houston County Superior Court had improperly allowed in testimony from the State’s psychologist, who said that during a mental health evaluation, Hittson had described the victim as “a hillbilly” and “an asshole.” Hittson claimed that the State’s psychologist should not have been permitted to testify about his statements because Hittson chose not to present his own expert testimony.