Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler

Life On Death Row

In his years on death row, Gary has developed an artistic talent. According to Martin, "He's a very good artist. He makes hand drawn Christmas cards and birthday cards for me and other people who work on his behalf. They are very good."

Gary's art has been exhibited in the prison. An individual who has visited Gary says he often draws pastels of musicians, cartoon characters, and scenes of everyday life among black Americans.

In 1996, Gary married a woman whom he met through a church group that makes visits to prisoners. His wife works in a health care field. He also adopted her daughter. According to someone who knows the family, his wife visits him several times each month and the couple have an easygoing rapport, despite the limitations imposed by his imprisonment. Gary is also said to be emotionally close to his adopted daughter.

Martin says Gary keeps busy in his cell on Georgia's death row. "He does artwork," Martin continues. "He spends a lot of time corresponding with people, staying in touch with his family and hoping eventually that he'll be exonerated."

Others believe Gary has little chance of exoneration. The Supreme Court of Georgia, the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia have upheld his convictions.

Among those who believe it likely Gary will keep a date with the executioner is William J. Smith, who led the prosecution. Jordan quotes him as telling the jury that if Carlton Gary does not deserve the death penalty, "it isn't appropriate for anyone."

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