New Internationalist

Brandon Astor Jones – time is running out

19-01-16-Brandon-Astor-Jones-590.png [Related Image]
Brandon Astor Jones by Georgia Department of Corrections

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UPDATE, 3 February 2016

It is with great sadness that we learned this morning that Brandon Astor Jones was executed by the State of Georgia last night. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. His death was delayed by several hours following a flurry of appeals by his lawyers, the Guardian reports.

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An execution date of 2 February has been set. Please write to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to appeal for clemency.

Regular readers of New Internationalist magazine, and of our website, will be familiar with the name of Brandon Astor Jones. He has been an occasional contributor for many years. Nothing surprising in that: many of our contributors are longstanding, and many of them have become friends. What is unique about Brandon, however, is that for the many decades we have known him, he has written for us from a prison in the US state of Georgia.

Convicted of killing a store clerk in 1972, Brandon, now nearly 73 years old, was sentenced to death in 1979; of his 36 years in prison, nearly 20 of them have been spent on Death Row. He is the state’s oldest Death Row inmate and, following the failure of his latest appeal, is due to be executed at 7pm on Tuesday 2 February.

Georgia executed five people in 2015, including one woman.

In 2008, at a time when Brandon believed his execution was near, he wrote an article for us which contained what he called ‘my last will and testament’. You can read it in full here: newint.org/features/2008/01/01/death-penalty. In it, he writes:

I am under sentence of death here in the American Southland. Over a period of many years I have stretched and tested the limits of the so-called ‘appeals process’. I am very likely to be killed in the near, as opposed to the distant, future. When New Internationalist gave me leave to write whatever I chose about the death penalty, I decided to take an unusual approach. I respectfully request that the reader absorb this more as my last will and testament than a mere essay.

Brandon’s association with New Internationalist predates my own by a long way. I have worked here for 18 years, yet this is just half the amount of time that Brandon has spent in prison. Over the past few years, while working on our blogs, I have had the pleasure of communicating with Brandon, and getting to know him through the pieces he has written for us. Through the blogs, he has exposed the reality of life in a high-security prison: the racism, the power struggles, the terrible conditions, the fear of enemies and the unwavering support of friends.

One of those friends contacted me earlier this week with the news of the execution date. She has provided details of who to write to ask for clemency:

Address your letter to:

State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909

and email it to Katrina Conrad at katrina_conrad[at]fd.org

Clemency letters can also be faxed to Katrina Conrad, she will personally deliver clemency letters received to the State Board of pardons and paroles this week.

Fax #: 404-688-0768 (from outside the US, add your country dial-out code and then a 1, eg from the UK, fax: 00 1 404 688 0768)
Attn: Katrina Conrad
Ref: Urge to grant clemency for Brandon Astor Jones

A full list of Brandon’s more recent contributions to New Internationalist can be found here: newint.org/contributors/brandon-astor-jones

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