A man who murdered a woman on St. Simons Island almost 23 years ago has exhausted his legal appeals and now has a date for his own death.
Robert L. Newland, now 54, was convicted Aug. 15, 1987, of killing Carol Sanders Beatty, 27, at a Broadway Street residence on St. Simons Island.
Newland, who cut Beatty's throat and stabbed her in her abdomen in May 1986 after she rebuffed advances he made to her, was convicted of murder, aggravated assault and intent to commit rape by a Glynn County jury.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Amanda Williams signed an order Tuesday in Brunswick for the execution of Newland to proceed. The Georgia Supreme Court denied his final state appeal Monday.
Glynn County officials said Wednesday they have been told Newland will be put to death by lethal injection between March 10 and March 17 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. The state attorney general's office is reported to have placed the execution at 7 p.m. March 10.
Stephen Kelley, district attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, cautioned Wednesday that some emergency motions to stop the execution could be filed on Newland's behalf. "Anything can happen," he said
For Greg McMichael, a Glynn County police detective when the murder occurred and an investigator with the district attorney's office, it has been a long 23 years. He remembers vividly being at the bedside of Carol Sanders Beatty May 30, 1986.
That night, while she lay dying in the hospital in Brunswick, McMichael patiently stood by as she mouthed the first name of her assailant, "Bob."
Unable to understand her pronunciation of the assailant's last name, McMichael proceeded to go through the alphabet, letter by letter, for the perpetrator's identity. As he reached each correct letter, Beatty would squeeze his hand in confirmation.
According to a prepared statement from the district attorney's office, Beatty nodded her head vigorously when McMichael said the name "Newland."
Beatty died erly June 1 of blood loss from her multiple injuries.
McMichael said the fact that the case is finally coming to a close is gratifying.
"This case has haunted me," McMichael said. "I was the last person to talk to the victim. It touched me emotionally."
McMichael said the execution will give both him and Beatty's family a sense of closure.
"I've kept in touch with them all these years," McMichael said. "That's been kind of a cathartic thing for them and me."
According to testimony at the trial, Beatty was at home when Newland, her Broadway Street neighbor, and his girlfriend, Margaret Beggs, visited her.
Newland and Beggs had been out that evening, first to a bar and then for Chinese carry-out food. On the way home, the couple bought a bottle of vodka, which they took to Beatty's house and had several Bloody Marys.
Beatty spent the evening mostly talking with Beggs, a social worker, about Beatty's boyfriend, who was in a Florida prison for selling drugs. Some time that night, after Beggs went home, Newland returned to Beatty's residence. She met him in the backyard after he called to her.
Information from the district attorney's office is that Newland attempted to kiss her, and that the pair got into a scuffle.
According to Newland's confession to police, he "grabbed her and thew her down and somehow the (pocket) knife came in my hand and started stabbing her ..."
When police responded to reports of a woman screaming in the Broadway Street neighborhood, they found Beatty lying in the garden. Paramedics took her to hospital, with multiple neck wounds and a stab wound to her abdomen.
Beatty's murder was not Newland's first brush with the law.
Several years before he moved to St. Simons Island in 1984, Newland had been arrested in connection with a nearly identical murder, but was freed.
Newland's then landlord had allowed police to search his residence without his knowledge. The charges were dismissed because police had illegally searched Newland's home and any evidence they had obtained could not be used at trial.
"The similarities (in the cases) were frightening," Kelley said Wednesday.
It is likely that either Kelly or McMichael will travel to the state prison to witness the execution.