Georgia executes man for 1998 slaying of sheriff's deputy

Georgia inmate Andrew Brannan becomes the first person executed in the U.S. in 2015

Andrew Howard Brannan was executed by Georgia officials Tuesday evening, becoming the first prisoner to be put to death in the U.S. in 2015.

Brannan was convicted in the 1998 shooting death of 22-year-old Kyle Dinkheller, a sheriff's deputy in Laurens County, after the officer stopped him for speeding. The incident was captured in a grisly video from Dinkheller's dashboard camera.

Brannan, 66, was pronounced dead at 8:33 p.m. after a lethal injection at a state prison in Jackson, officials confirmed. His final words expressed remorse to the family of the slain deputy, said Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan.

His last meal included three eggs over easy, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, sausage, pecan waffles with strawberries, milk, apple juice and decaf coffee, prison officials said.

Brannan's attorneys had argued that Brannan should not be executed in part because he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his combat service in the Vietnam War. The Georgia Supreme Court disagreed in a 6-1 decision Tuesday, denying his request for a stay of execution.

The U.S. Supreme Court also denied the condemned man's request for a stay about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, less than an hour before he was put to death.

On Jan. 12, 1998, Brannan was driving his white pickup 98 mph in central Georgia when Dinkheller stopped him, officials say.

When the deputy pulled him over, Brannan stood next to the truck with his hands in his pockets. When Dinkheller ordered him to remove them, Brannan can be seen dancing in the road, cursing and saying "shoot me" and identifying himself as a Vietnam combat veteran.

Brannan then pulled a .30-caliber rifle from his truck and fired at the deputy, unloading a magazine before reloading the gun and firing again. The deputy was hit at least nine times, authorities said. Dinkheller's screams could be heard on a microphone he was wearing.

Authorities later found Brannan in the woods, shot in the stomach and hiding about 100 yards from his house.

Brannan, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000, is the 33rd Georgia inmate to be put to death by lethal injection. Currently, there are 84 men and one woman on death row in the state, officials said.

In a clemency petition to the Georgia Board of Parole, Brannan's attorneys said he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by the Veterans Administration and that he had a 100% disability by 1990, the Associated Press reported. The veteran was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1996, the petition said.

Court documents say Brannan volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War, receiving two Army Commendation medals and a Bronze Star, the Associated Press reported.

His death comes two days before a controversial execution is scheduled to take place in Oklahoma. Charles Warner, convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter in 1997, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Thursday.

Warner's execution was originally supposed to occur April 29, part of a planned double execution, but it was postponed after the first inmate's execution went awry.

Clayton Lockett, 38, writhed and grimaced after receiving the lethal three-drug cocktail, dying more than 40 minutes later.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


8:11 p.m.: The story was updated with additional details about the crime and information about Oklahoma's planned execution of Charles Warner.

This story was originally published at 7 p.m.