Marion Wilson (murderer)

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Marion Wilson
Born(1976-07-29)July 29, 1976
DiedJune 20, 2019(2019-06-20) (aged 42)
Criminal statusExecuted by lethal injection on June 20, 2019
Criminal chargeMurder
PenaltyDeath penalty (November 7, 1997)
VictimsDonovan Corey Parks, 24
DateMarch 28, 1996
CountryUnited States

Marion Wilson Jr. (July 29, 1976 – June 20, 2019)[1][2] was an American convicted criminal executed by the state of Georgia for murder. He was the 1500th person to be executed in the United States since capital punishment was resumed in 1976.[3] He was sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of corrections officer Donovan Corey Parks.


On March 28, 1996, Wilson and his accomplice Robert Earl Butts Jr. (May 14, 1977 – May 4, 2018) came across off-duty prison guard Donovan Corey Parks, outside a Walmart in Milledgeville, Georgia. Butts had worked with Parks at a local Burger King and asked if they could get a ride in his car. Parks agreed and took the two men in his car. Butts was sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle and Wilson was sitting in the back as they left the parking lot.

Parks was then fatally shot by one of the two men with a sawn-off shotgun. He was ordered out of his car and shot in the back of his head as he lay on the ground.[4] His dead body was found lying face down on a residential street not far from the parking lot. Butts and Wilson fled in the stolen car, which they later burned after being unsuccessful in their attempt at finding someone to sell it to.[5]

Trial and execution[edit]

Butts and Wilson were arrested four days after the murder and each man accused the other of pulling the trigger. They were both gang members in the Folk Nation street gang. Prosecutors claim they murdered Parks to achieve a higher status within their gang. Both men were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1997. In December 1999, the Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed on direct appeal.[6][7] Wilson next petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in state court.[8] The petition was denied in a written opinion by the state superior court, which was summarily affirmed by the state supreme court, and denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court.[6]

Wilson then filed another petition for habeas corpus, now in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, which was denied.[6] In December 2014, an unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed, also rejecting Wilson's petition.[6][9] In August 2016, the full en banc Eleventh Circuit again rejected the petition by a vote of 6-5.[10]

In April 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed and remanded by a vote of 6-3 in Wilson v. Sellers, finding that the Eleventh Circuit had erred under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 by failing to consider the reasoning in lower, earlier, written state court decision.[6] In August 2018, the Eleventh Circuit again denied Wilson's petition.[11]

Butts was executed by lethal injection on May 4, 2018 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, 10 days before what would have been his 41st birthday.[12]

On May 28, 2019, Wilson’s final petition for certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States.[13] Eight days later, Wilson received an execution date of June 20, 2019.[14] The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Wilson on the morning of his execution date.[15] He requested a last meal of one medium thin-crust pizza with everything, 20 buffalo wings, one pint of butter pecan ice cream, some apple pie and grape juice.[16] Wilson was executed by lethal injection on June 20, 2019. He became the 1500th person to be executed in the United States since capital punishment was resumed in 1976 after Gregg v. Georgia. His execution was carried out at 9:52 p.m. ET at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Butts County, Georgia after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inmate awaits execution as lawyers plead for mercy, citing childhood". June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  2. ^ "Assistant DA Barksdale reads Sills' letter at Wilson's clemency hearing". Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  3. ^ Liliana Segura (June 18, 2019). "GEORGIA PREPARES TO CARRY OUT THE 1,500TH EXECUTION IN THE U.S. SINCE 1976". The Intercept. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Death row killer requests high-calorie last meal and begs for life to be spared". June 19, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Lawyers ask board to spare condemned Georgia man's life". Fox News. June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e Note, The Supreme Court, 2017 Term — Leading Cases, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 407 (2018)
  7. ^ Wilson v. State, 525 S.E.2d 339 (Ga. 1999).
  8. ^ Note, Patrick J. Fuster, Taming Cerberus: The Beast at AEDPA’s Gates, 84 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1325 (2017)
  9. ^ Wilson v. Warden, 774 F.3d 671 (11th Cir. 2014).
  10. ^ Wilson v. Warden, 834 F.3d 1227 (11th Cir. 2016) (en banc).
  11. ^ Wilson v. Warden, 898 F.3d 1314 (11th Cir. 2018).
  12. ^ "Robert Butts executed for 1996 murder. Final words: 'It burns, man'". May 4, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  13. ^ "Search - Supreme Court of the United States". Retrieved 2019-07-04.
  14. ^ "Georgia to execute man later this month for 1996 killing". Associated Press. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
  15. ^ "Parole Board denies clemency for Marion Wilson, Jr". June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  16. ^ "Georgia killer makes last meal request ahead of execution". June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  17. ^ "Georgia inmate is the 1,500th person executed in the US since the death penalty was reinstated". June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2019.