Convicted murderer’s execution set for June 17
by Emily Boorstein
May 29, 2014 04:00 AM | 3278 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marcus Wellons
Marcus Wellons
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MARIETTA — An execution date has been set for a man convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old Cobb County girl who was last seen heading for a school bus stop.

Marcus Wellons is scheduled to be executed June 17 at 7 p.m. for the 1989 slaying of India Roberts, a Campbell High School student, according to state Attorney General Sam Olens.

A lawyer for Wellons said she had no comment about her client’s execution date being set, according to the Associated Press.

Court documents showed Roberts had had a friendly relationship with Wellons’ former girlfriend, Gail Saunders, who lived in a nearby apartment on Paces Mill Road near Vinings.

Wellons had been living with Saunders, but she told him to move out the day before the murder.

Saunders later spent the night at a friend’s house.

On the morning of August 31, 1989, Roberts said goodbye to her mother and headed for school. Not long after, Saunders’ next door neighbor heard muffled screams from inside Saunders’ apartment.

Later that day, a man called 911, saying he saw someone carrying what appeared to be a body wrapped in a sheet in a wooded area behind the apartment complex, the documents said.

Police discovered Roberts’ naked body in the woods, with cuts on one side of her face and ear, and bruises on her neck. They said they found her blood and some of her belongings in Saunders’ apartment.

An autopsy later determined Roberts had been strangled, possibly with a phone cord, and that she had also been raped.

A jury convicted Wellons in 1993 and recommended the death penalty.

The case gained heightened attention after it was discovered a juror gave raunchy chocolates to the judge who heard his case in Cobb Superior Court, as well as a bailiff.

Judge Mary Staley told the Marietta Daily Journal in 2010 the chocolates were delivered after the trial and she didn’t keep them.

“The jury was gone, the lawyers were gone, the case was officially over,” Staley said at the time. “Court personnel had left me a candy box and said the jurors had left it as a gag. I threw it in the trash.”

Wellons’ lawyers argued the genitalia-shaped candy constituted misconduct by the jury, judge and bailiff.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those claims in September 2012, saying that while the chocolates were “inappropriate,” they did not affect the outcome of the case.

Olens said Wednesday that Wellons has exhausted his appeals. Wellons went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied hearing his appeal in October 2013.

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