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His name is Keith Leroy Tharpe. There's still time to call GA Gov. Nathan Deal to ask for clemency

Phone: 404-656-1776
Fax: 404-657-7332



Keith Tharpe fatally shot his sister-in-law in 1990. In an affidavit that he confirmed in 1998, juror Barney Gattie said he considered there to be “good black folks” and “n------” and that he considered Tharpe the second. He added that from reading his Bible, he “wondered if black people even have souls” and made other racist comments. He later said the affidavit “misconstrued” his comments.


The ever-present racial disparities within the death penalty become hyper-visible in Tharpe’s case. During the appeals process, Tharpe’s legal defense team interviewed jurors from the trial, and court filings from the interviews reveal that Gattie, who is now deceased, stated he voted for Tharpe’s death because he was black.

“After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” Gattie said.

“Integration started in Genesis,” Gattie also said. “I think they were wrong. For example, look at O.J. Simpson. That white woman wouldn’t have been killed if she hadn’t have married that black man.”

Earlier in his statements, Gattie told attorneys, “In my experience I have observed that there are two types of black people: black folks and niggers.” He lambasted Tharpe as an “example” for other Black people to see and fear.

“As it was, because I knew the victim and her husband’s family and knew them all to be good black folks, I felt Tharpe, who wasn’t in the “good” black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair […] Some of the jurors voted for death because they felt that Tharpe should be an example to other blacks who kill blacks […] The others wanted blacks to know they weren’t going to get away with killing each other.”

In light of the clear racial bias in these comments, Tharpe’s lawyers have tried to have attempted to have this execution halted.

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