30 January 2020 :
Hours before he was to be executed, Jimmy Fletcher Meders was granted clemency — largely because of what the jurors said when they were contacted 30 years after the trial. Jimmy Fletcher Meders’ sentence was commuted Thursday to life without parole by Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Parole, said a news release signed by Chairman Terry Barnard. Meders, now 58, had been sentenced to death in 1989 for the 1987 murder of convenience store clerk Don Anderson while stealing $38. Meders said he did not pull the trigger but admitted to being involved in the robbery. The gun was found at his home, and none of his 3 companions that night was tried for the crime. His execution was scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday. The board cited the fact that the jury wanted the sentence of life without parole but that punishment was not an option in 1989. The six surviving jurors were contacted recently, and they confirmed that the death sentence had not been their first choice. Court documents show that, 20 minutes into deliberations, the jury asked the judge, “If the jury recommends that the accused be sentenced to life in prison, can the jury recommend that the sentence be carried out without parole?” The board also referred to Meders’ lack of a criminal record before the Jiffy Store robbery and his good behavior while on death row for almost 30 years. 4 years after the trial, the state added life without parole as a possible punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.