Juror Referred To Defendant As “N*****”, Voted For Death Sentence

Death-row inmate Keith Tharpe ate what he thought was his last meal in September and was getting prepped for execution when the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and halted the proceedings over comments made by a now-deceased, racist juror who had voted for the death sentence for Tharpe.

That juror, Barney Gattie, allegedly referred to Tharpe as a “nig**” in a signed affidavit, and also claimed, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” according to the same affidavit.

Tharpe was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of his sister-in-law, Jacquelin Freeman.

Gattie went on to add that Freeman came from a family of “nice Black folks”.

“If they had been the type Tharpe is, then picking between life and death for Tharpe wouldn’t have mattered so much. My feeling is, what would be the difference?”

Gattie was quoted seven years after Tharpe was sentenced to death while he was seeking an appeal of his sentence. Gattie made the comments in a sworn affidavit, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of sending Tharpe’s appeal back to the 1th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which had previously declined to even consider Gattie’s racial bias as an argument in Tharpe’s appeal–something the Supreme Court pointed out.

“It may be that, at the end of the day, Tharpe should not receive (permission to pursue his appeal),” the court said, in an unsigned opinion. But the court also said it is possible the juror’s bias prejudiced the case against Tharpe.

Its unclear when the appeals court will render its opinion.

Via: The Atlanta Journal Constitution