• Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

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Inmate reverses request for execution, says he wants appeal

A Mississippi death row inmate has told a judge he wants to continue appealing his case

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi death row inmate has told a judge under oath that he wants to continue appealing his case, months after saying he wanted to give up his appeals and request an execution date.

George County Circuit Court Judge Kathy King Jackson issued an order Monday noting the current wishes of the inmate, Blayde Nathaniel Grayson. Grayson, 46, appeared before Jackson on Thursday and said he wants to continue his appeal in federal court.

Grayson was convicted of capital murder in 1997 for the stabbing death the previous year of 78-year-old Minnie Smith during a home burglary in south Mississippi’s George County.

He said in a handwritten letter to the state Supreme Court in early December: “I ask to see that my execution should be carried out forthwith.” Grayson also said then that he wanted to end all of his appeals.

Grayson’s attorney, David Voisin, submitted a letter days later asking justices to disregard Grayson’s request because Grayson still had an appeal pending in federal court.

On Jan. 28, the state Supreme Court ordered that Grayson be put under oath before a circuit judge to say whether he wished to go forward with his request for the state to schedule his lethal injection. That hearing happened Thursday.

Mississippi carried out its first execution in nine years last November, giving a lethal injection to David Neal Cox, who had surrendered all appeals and described himself as “worthy of death.” A jury in north Mississippi sentenced Cox to death after he pleaded guilty to killing his estranged wife and sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in front of her dying mother.