SCOTUS halts convicted killer’s execution over racist juror claim
By Brian Seay
Keith Tharpe was convicted of shooting and killing his sister-in-law with a shotgun in Sept. 1990. (Photo: File/Getty)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a stay of execution for a Georgia man whose attorneys argued that a racist juror helped sentence him to death.
More than three-and-a-half hours after Keith Tharpe, 59, was sentenced to die, the high court halted his execution in a 6-3 decision, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Tharpe was convicted of shooting and killing his sister-in-law in 1990.
Tharpe’s lethal injection was scheduled for 7 p.m., but officials in Georgia don’t usually carry out executions while appeals are pending. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented in the decision, saying they wouldn’t have granted the stay. The Supreme Court will now determine whether to take up Tharpe’s appeal. If they don’t, the stay of execution will automatically terminate.
According to CNN, Tharpe stopped his estranged wife and her sister on Sept. 25, 1990, as they drove to work. Prosecutors said he pulled Jacquelin Freeman, his sister-in-law, out of the car, shot her with a shotgun, threw her in a ditch, and shot her again, killing her. Tharpe then raped his wife and took her to a bank to