The State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request for the clemency of convicted murderer Melbert Ray Ford Friday.
There have been only seven instances where clemency has been granted in the state of Georgia since 1976, which is essentially a stay of execution. There have been 46 men executed in Georgia since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1973. If executed, Ford will be the 24th inmate put to death by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. He is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Ford was sentenced to death for the 1986 murders of Martha Chapman Matich and her 11-year-old niece Lisa Chapman. He was additionally convicted of armed robbery, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
According to a press release from the board, “After Ford’s relationship with Martha Matich ended, he began harassing her by telephone. Two weeks prior to her death, Ford told a friend that he ‘was going to blow her ... brains out.’ The day before her death, he unsuccessfully tried to convince a friend to drive him to the convenience store where Ms. Matich worked. Ford told a friend that he planned to rob the store and work revenge upon Ms. Matich by killing her.
"On March 6, 1986, Ford spoke with several people about his intentions to rob the store and asked someone to help him with the robbery, as he did not have a vehicle. Finally, he met Roger Turner and, by supplying him with alcohol and promising him that he could easily acquire $8,000, Ford was able to persuade Turner to help him. They drove in Turner's car to Chapman's Grocery, arriving just after closing time. Ford shot away the lower half of the locked and barred glass and entered the store. Turner, waiting in the car, heard screams and gunshots. Then Ford ran from the store to the car, carrying a bag of money. Ford and Turner were arrested the next day."
Ford has requested a last meal of fried fish and shrimp, baked potato, salad, boiled corn, ice cream, cheesecake and soda.
Check CovNews.com Wednesday evening for breaking news of the execution and see Friday’s edition for full coverage of the event.