Atlanta, March 31, 2016 – In a 6-to-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Georgia has denied a stay
of execution for Joshua Daniel Bishop, 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.
Bishop, 41, was sentenced to death in 1996 in Baldwin County for the murder of 35-year-old
Leverett Morrison in Milledgeville. Bishop was 19 at the time of the crime and confessed that he
and co-defendant, Mark Braxley, had beaten Morrison with a closet rod to obtain Morrison’s
keys so they could steal his car. Bishop and Braxley drove the body to a dumpster, but after
failing to toss the body into the dumpster, left the body on the ground where it was discovered
hours later. Following his arrest, Bishop confessed that two weeks earlier, he and Braxley had
killed Ricky Lee Wills and buried Wills’ body in the woods near Braxley’s trailer. During the
sentencing phase of Bishop’s trial for Morrison’s murder, the trial court admitted evidence of
Wills’ murder as aggravating evidence in support of the death penalty. Braxley, who was 36 at
the time of Morrison’s murder, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with the
possibility of parole.
In addition to denying Bishop’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 the Baldwin County jury’s
conviction for malice murder did not establish Bishop’s personal culpability for Morrison’s
death, making his death sentence disproportionate under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution. All the justices concurred except Justice Robert Benham, who dissented.