Georgia panel holds clemency hearing Tuesday for man on death row

Gregory Lawler (Georgia Department of Corrections/CBS46)

ATLANTA, Ga (AP) — The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is scheduled to hear arguments for clemency from representatives of an inmate set for execution this week.

Gregory Paul Lawler is scheduled to die Wednesday by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. A clemency hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The 63-year-old was convicted of murder in the October 1997 shooting death of Atlanta police Officer John Sowa. Authorities say Lawler also critically injured Officer Patricia Cocciolone.

Prosecutors say Lawler shot the officers as they tried to bring his intoxicated girlfriend home.

Lawler’s lawyers say a recent autism diagnosis helps explain his actions the night the officers were shot. They’re seeking a commutation of his sentence.

Lawler would be the seventh Georgia inmate executed this year.

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