Convicted Jackson County murderer Donnie Lance is scheduled to be executed this week.
The Georgia Department of Corrections has set Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. for the execution.
Lance will be executed by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.
In January 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court declined — in a 6-3 vote — to review Lance's case. Lance was convicted and sentenced to death in Jackson County in 1999 for the murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend.
Lance has appealed his case over the last 21 years, claiming he was denied adequate counsel when he was sentenced to death. Lance based his appeal around evidence that his lawyer failed to tell the jury of his previous traumatic head injuries, including having been shot in the head, and his alcoholism.
Lance was convicted of brutally murdering Joy Lance and Dwight “Butch” Wood on Nov. 9, 1997. After kicking in the door to Wood’s house, Donnie Lance shot Wood with a shotgun, then beat Joy Lance to death with the butt of the shotgun.
Lance appealed that conviction, claiming that his lawyer failed to present any mitigating evidence, including Lance’s mental condition, during the penalty phase of the trial. But the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Lance’s conviction.
In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for a review.
In 2009, a judge in Butts County threw out Lance’s death sentence, saying that his lawyer hadn’t presented evidence of Lance’s mental impairments at trial. But the Georgia Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the death penalty sentence, saying that even if Lance’s mental capabilities had been outlined to the jury, it would not have changed the outcome of the sentencing.
In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals declined to grant Lance a writ of habeas corpus on the same issue. It was an appeal of that which went before the U.S. Supreme Court in January.
Lance’s case has attracted some national attention by groups opposed to the death penalty and those concerned about the death penalty being imposed on those thought to be mentally ill.