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Jun 24, 5:01 PM EDT

Georgia sets execution for man convicted of killing friend



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ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia announced an execution date on Friday for a man convicted of killing a friend after a night of drinking and smoking marijuana.

John Wayne Conner, 60, is to be put to death July 14 at the state prison in Jackson, Attorney General Sam Olens said in a news release. Conner was convicted of beating J.T. White to death 34 years ago.

Conner's execution would be the sixth in Georgia this year, the most in a calendar year since the death penalty was reinstated nationwide in 1976. Georgia executed five inmates last year and in 1987.

Georgia imposes capital punishment by injecting the barbiturate pentobarbital.

Conner went out to a party with his girlfriend and other friends, including White, on the night of January 9, 1982. They spent the evening drinking and smoking marijuana before returning to the home Conner shared with his girlfriend in Milan, about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Court documents say Conner's girlfriend went to bed, and Conner and White left the house on foot with a nearly empty bottle of bourbon in search of more alcohol.

Conner told police he and White were walking down the road when White told Conner he wanted to sleep with his girlfriend. That led to a fight, during which Conner told police he hit White with the bourbon bottle and beat him with a stick, the documents say.

Conner then returned home, woke his girlfriend and said he'd had a fight with White and thought he was dead, court documents say. Conner left a note for his mother saying they had to leave because "something happened to me."

Conner and the woman were found hiding in a hay barn. White's body, with a badly beaten face, was found in a drainage ditch.

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