A DEATH row inmate tucked in to a huge last meal of cheese and macaroni, steak, rice, burger, fries and cake before his execution in the US.
Ray Cromartie, 52, was injected with a lethal barbiturate for the fatal shooting of a store clerk during a bungled robbery, in which he and two accomplices stole a case of booze.
Richard Slysz, a cashier at the Junior Food Store in Thomasville, Georgia, was held up at gunpoint and shot twice in the head by Cromartie and another man, Corey Clark, on April 10, 1994.
Cromartie had long denied that he pulled the trigger in the killing, and maintained his innocence until the end.
Wednesday's execution came shortly after the US Supreme Court, without explanation, rejected two appeals by the inmate's lawyers – without explanation.
The Mirror reports that Cromartie's last meal included an iced layered cake, French fries, a strawberry milkshake, double cheeseburger, rice and gravy, a steak and cheese sandwich along with macaroni and cheese.
Before dying at the state prison in Jackson, he made no last statement but requested a prayer to be recited before receiving the lethal cocktail of drugs.
Cromartie took a number of deep breaths while looking at the ceiling before closing his eyes and going still about five minutes after the drugs began flowing.
At one point he formed his mouth into an 'O' and exhaled heavily.
A reporter attending the execution said that the inmate – strapped and taped down to the gurney – didn't struggle and said nothing in his final moments.
During the heist in 1994, two of the robbers failed to get the store's cash register open but Cromartie grabbed two 12-packs of Budweiser beer and they fled the scene, according to court records.
Cromartie was arrested three days later.
He was convicted in 1997 largely on testimony from Clark and a second co-defendant, getaway driver Thaddeus Lucas, as well as two other associates.
They claimed that Cromartie admitted to shooting the clerk, the documents add.
Clark and Lucas pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
It is so sad and frankly outrageous that the state of Georgia executed Ray Cromartie.
Cromartie's execution was carried out shortly after the US Supreme Court denied an 11th-hour application for a stay, based on new evidence that his lawyers said had come to light about the identity of the killer.
His lawyers asked for DNA testing of evidence collected from the shootings, which they claimed would prove he wasn't the killer.
The appeal cited a sworn affidavit that defence lawyers obtained from Lucas earlier this month saying he had overheard Clark confess years ago to committing the shooting – not Cromartie.
Lucas claimed he belatedly came forward after reading about the case in the news.
He said he felt "angry because the story is not the truth of what really happened," but the petition was rejected by the high court.
The state's attorney general office said it would not comment on the case.
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Cromartie's lawyer, Shawn Nolan, slammed his execution.
Nolan said: "It is so sad and frankly outrageous that the state of Georgia executed Ray Cromartie tonight after repeatedly denying his requests for DNA testing that would have proven he did not kill Richard Slysz."
Cromartie became the 20th inmate in the US and the third in Georgia to be executed in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
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