As we enter 2019 Floyd County has one remaining man sitting on death row awaiting execution and another who is potentially heading for his second death penalty trial.
Timothy Tyrone Foster, who is now 51, was sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of retired school teacher Queen Madge White during a burglary at her home at Highland Circle — he was 18 at the time of the incident.
The 79-year-old woman had been attacked and molested before being strangled to death.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction two years ago, on the grounds of black jurors being excluded from his original trial.
Once his conviction was overturned, Foster was moved back to the Floyd County Jail from Georgia’s death row in Jackson. Earlier this year the state expressed its intent to seek the death penalty and the lengthy process began again.
One round of hearings took place in October and another round of hearings are set for May in Judge Billy Sparks’ courtroom.
James Randall Rogers
James Randall Rogers, now 57, is the only man currently sentenced to death from Floyd County. Rogers raped and murdered his 75-year-old neighbor, Grace Perry in 1980.
He was first convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 but later had to be retried, convicted and sentenced in 1985 after he appealed the original conviction because the grand jury pool didn’t include enough women.
Later Rogers appealed his conviction again, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ban of the execution of mentally retarded criminals. He cited a definition of mental retardation as consistently scoring less than 70 on IQ tests. Rogers took six tests, with his score falling below 70 only once.
In 2007, the Supreme Court of Georgia upheld a Floyd County jury’s 2005 finding that Rogers wasn’t mentally retarded.
The Georgia Department of Corrections does not list any date for Rogers’ scheduled execution.
It took years to resolve the cases of Mark Randall McPherson and Gary Chad Thomason. Both men were sentenced to death and both men’s sentences were overturned. Both McPherson and Thomason were re-sentenced to life without parole.
It took six years to resolve McPherson’s case and 11 for Thomason.
Mark Randall McPherson took a sentencing deal for life without parole for the 1998 murder of Linda Ratcliff after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his sentence of death in 2008.
In 1992 Gary Chad Thomason fatally shot Jerry Self, 33, outside his Bells Ferry Road home. Convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 on murder, burglary and weapons charges, Thomason had his sentence — but not conviction — overturned in 2003.
Thomason also took a sentencing deal which offered life without parole, rather than the death penalty.
In both cases the families of the victims approved of the sentencing deals of life without parole, Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson said in an earlier interview.