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Execution Order Signed on William Earl Lynd for Berrien County Murder

PRESS ADVISORY

Execution Order Signed on William Earl Lynd for Berrien County Murder

April 22, 2008

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker offers the following information in the case against William Earl Lynd, who is currently scheduled to be executed during the execution window starting at noon on May 6, 2008 and ending at noon on May 13, 2008.

Scheduled Execution

On April 22, 2008, the Superior Court of Berrien County filed an order which set the seven-day window in which the execution of William Earl Lynd may occur to begin at noon, May 6, 2008, and ending seven days later at noon on May 13, 2008.  The Commissioner of the Department of Corrections has set the date and time for the execution at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 6, 2008.  The execution will take place at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.  Lynd has concluded his direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings.

Lynd’s Crimes

On December 23, 1988, Lynd murdered his girlfriend, Ginger Moore, in Berrien County, Georgia, by shooting her three times in the face and head with a .32 caliber derringer.  (T. 1530-1606, 1618-1628, 1639-1640, 1784-1790, 1806-1807).[1]   Prior to the shooting, Lynd and the victim lived together in the victim’s home.

Lynd told the Berrien County Sheriff that, on the day of the victim’s death, he and the victim had taken a drive and were apparently going to take a vacation together; however, they argued and returned home.   (T. 1530-1532).  When the victim and Lynd got home, they argued again and Lynd got his pistol and shot the victim in the face.  (T. 1532).  The unconscious victim fell across the waterbed.  Id.

Lynd went outside, sat on the front porch, and smoked a cigarette.   (T. 1532).  The victim eventually regained consciousness and staggered outside toward Lynd.  Id.  Lynd turned and shot the victim a second time and the victim collapsed onto the porch. (T. 1530-1533).  Lynd put the victim into the trunk of her blue Spectrum automobile and drove away from the house.  (T. 1533).

Lynd drove to an old farmhouse in Berrien County and after parking his car, reclined in the driver’s seat and dozed for a few minutes.  (T. 1533-1535).  Lynd then heard the victim kicking the inside of the trunk.  (T. 1534).  Sheriff Brogdon testified that Lynd told him, with clinched fists, that he was “tired of that goddamn bitch thumping around in the car,” so Lynd opened the trunk and shot the victim a third and final time.  (T. 1533-1534).

Lynd closed the trunk and drove back to the house.   (T. 1535).  Lynd gathered up all the bloodied items in the house and put them in the front seat of the car and drove off.  (T. 1536).  Lynd stopped the car along I-75, slept for awhile and when he awakened, continued driving until he spotted a farm located near Tifton, Georgia.  (T. 1537, 1564-1565).  Lynd dug a shallow grave there and buried the victim’s body.  (T. 1534-1538, 1561-1565).

Lynd got back in his car and continued to drive, picking up a hitchhiker in Atlanta.  (T. 1538).  The hitchhiker drove the Spectrum for a while, allowing Lynd to sleep.  Id.  After the hitchhiker got out in West Virginia, Lynd drove on to Ohio.  (T.1539).

When driving through Ohio, Lynd attacked and murdered another woman, Leslie Joan Sharkey.   (T. 1549).  Lynd was able to convince Ms. Sharkey that her car was damaged when he flashed his headlights at her.  (Vol. IX).  When Ms. Sharkey pulled her car over to the side of the road, Lynd attacked her and shot her three times with the .32 caliber pistol.  Id.  Ms. Sharkey was able to drive away and get medical attention.  Id.  While she was being treated in the emergency room, she gave a full account of the incident to Ohio police officers.  Id.  However, Ms. Sharkey died a few days after she was shot.  (T. 1539-1551, 1752, 1762). 

Additionally, a month prior to the victim’s murder, Lynd sexually assaulted another woman whom he convinced to get into his car after telling her that her car was damaged.  (T. 1821-1830).  Similar to the murder of Ms. Sharkey, Lynd was able to convince this woman to pull her car over after he flashed his headlights at her.  (T. 1821-1832).

While in Ohio, Lynd sold the murder weapon, a .32 caliber Davis Industries derringer, to Mr. Billy George Blevins for twenty dollars.  (T. 1790, 1807).  Blevins testified that he bought the gun from Lynd on December 26, 1991, when Lynd came into his bar to have a drink.  (T. 1784-1790, 1807).  Georgia Bureau of Investigation firearms expert Kelly Fite was able to determine that the bullets fired into the victim matched those test fired from the derringer.  (T. 1639-1640).

After selling the derringer, Lynd then drove to Florida where he abandoned the victim’s car.  (T. 1550-1551).  Florida officials were able to locate the car and process it for evidence.  (T. 1658).  AB type blood was discovered in the trunk, on the rear tail light, and in the front passenger compartment of the car.  (T. 1685, 1688-1689).  Bloody items, such as the comforter from the victim’s bed, were discovered discarded along the roadside in Dooly County, Georgia.  (T. 1869-1877).  These items also revealed the presence of AB type blood.  (T. 1706, 1718-1724).  The victim’s blood type was AB.  (T. 1689-1690, 1702-1703).  AB type blood is fairly rare; only four percent of the population has that blood type.  (T. 1687, 1705).

After discarding most of the evidence against him, Lynd turned himself over to the Berrien County authorities.  (T. 1519-1522).  Lynd’s brother, Greg Lynd, drove him to the Sheriff’s office.  (T. 1519-1522).

Forensic pathologist Warren Tillman testified that the victim died as a result of gunshot wounds to the head and face.  (T. 1626).  Dr. Tillman explained that the first shot fired into the victim’s face would not have been fatal.  Id.  After the second gunshot wound, which was fired into the victim’s brain, the victim would have been able to regain consciousness and could have moved her arms and legs.  (T. 1626-1628).  Even after all three shots were fired, the victim may have been able to achieve consciousness for a period of time prior to her death.  (T. 1618-1628, 1635).

The Trial (1989-1990)

Lynd was indicted by the Grand Jury of Berrien County, Georgia on February 7, 1989, on one count of malice murder and one count of kidnapping.    On February 27, 1990, following a jury trial, Lynd was convicted as charged in the indictment.  The jury then returned a sentence of death against Lynd. 

The Direct Appeal (1992)

The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Lynd’s convictions and death sentence on February 27, 1992.   Lynd v. State, 262 Ga. 58, 414 S.E.2d 5 (1992).  Lynd filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on November 2, 1992. Lynd v. Georgia, 506 U.S. 958 (1992).

State Habeas Corpus Petition (1995-2001)

Lynd, represented by Stephen C. Bayliss, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior CourtofButtsCounty on December 20, 1995. Lynd filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus on October 21, 1996.   An evidentiary hearing was held on May 5, 1997.  On January 15, 1998, the state habeas corpus court denied Lynd state habeas corpus relief.  Lynd’s application for a certificate of probable cause to appeal filed in the Georgia Supreme Court was denied on September 11, 2000.  Lynd then filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on June 18, 2001.  Lynd v. Turpin, 533 U.S. 921 (2001). 

Federal Habeas Corpus Petition (2001-2006)

Lynd, represented by Thomas H. Dunn, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on October 5, 2001. On October 31, 2005, the district court denied Lynd federal habeas corpus relief.  The district court denied a motion to alter and amend judgment on January 12, 2006.  The district court granted Lynd a certificate of appealability on specific issues on March 13, 2006.

11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2006-2007)

The case was orally argued before the Eleventh Circuit on October 25, 2006.   On November 28, 2006, the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion which denied relief.  Lynd v. Terry, 470 F.3d 1308 (11th Cir. 2006).  Lynd filed a petition for panel rehearing, which was denied on February 5, 2007.

United StatesSupreme Court (2007)

Lynd filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on June 29, 2007, which was denied October 1, 2007.   Lynd then filed a petition for rehearing in the United States Supreme Court on October 22, 2007, which was denied on November 26, 2007. 


[1] References to the trial transcript will be indicated by “T,” followed by the appropriate page number.