(SL) – According to one of the jurors assigned to Keith Tharpe’s case, he’s a ‘n…..’. And after serving 26 years on death row, Tharpe’s attorney is hoping that racial bias will save his client’s life.
It was a grisly crime indeed. Keith Leroy Tharpe, now 59, was sentenced to death in 1991 just three months after he allegedly murdered his sister-in-law (Jacqueline Freeman) and kidnapped and raped his estranged wife.
11 Alive reports, according to court documents, Tharpe repeatedly threatened his wife and her family after she left him. One September morning, as Freeman and Tharpe’s wife were on their way to work, the 59-year-old used his car to force his wife’s off the road. It was there he got out of the car and, armed with a shotgun, forced Freeman to the back of the vehicle where he shot her twice.
After shooting the 29-year-old and rolling her body into a ditch, he kidnapped and raped his estranged wife.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, a Jones County jury voted unanimously for the death penalty.
After several petitions from Tharpe, the Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier finally set the execution date for Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Jackson County Prison
But now, word that during an interview, a juror told attorneys that he believes black people can be divided into two categories — “good black folks” and “n—–s,” could reverse the ruling.
The juror, reportedly, told attorneys he thought of Freeman’s family as “nice black folks” and said if her family “had been the type Tharpe is, then picking between life or death for Tharpe wouldn’t have mattered as much,” according to the motion.
The juror claims that he voted for the death penalty based only on the evidence, but Tharpe’s attorney believes his views on race were tied to his decision.
“Death sentences cannot be based on racial bias on even the part of one juror,” Kammer said. “It really undermines the appearance of and reality of fairness in death sentencing.”
Tharpe’s attorney, Brian Kammer, is asking a judge to take another look at Tharpe’s case.
If executed, Tharpe will be the 48th inmate put to death by lethal injection in Georgia.