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Alderman gets stay of execution
jack alderman
Jack Alderman - photo by File photo

The Georgia Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for a convicted killer on the state's death row.

Citing cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on the cruelty of lethal injection, Georgia justices granted a stay for Jack Alderman, who was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Friday at the Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson. 

The state Board of Paroles and Pardons denied Alderman’s petition for clemency Wednesday. Members of his late wife’s family were in attendance at the hearing.

Alderman, convicted in the 1974 killing of his wife Barbara Jean Alderman, who has family in Effingham County, had his appeal on the legality of death by lethal injection denied by the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has not yet indicated that, in cases in this posture, all executions by lethal injection should be stayed,” Georgia justices wrote in their opinion.

Alderman’s request for a 90-day stay of execution also was turned down Wednesday.

Alderman was convicted for killing his wife on Sept. 21, 1974. Alderman, then an assistant manager at a grocery store, asked an acquaintance, John Arthur Brown, to help him kill his wife in order to collect her insurance money.

She was employed in the tax assessors’ office with the city of Savannah.

Brown went to the Aldermans’ apartment in Garden City and Jack Alderman got a 12-inch wrench and gave it to Brown, telling him to hit his wife in the head with it as she lay sleeping.

Mrs. Alderman woke up and began cleaning up after their dog in the dining room. Brown followed her until he was able to hit her. She ran but her husband tackled her. Eventually, Alderman and Brown tried to strangle her and covered her nose and mouth until she passed out.

Alderman filled a bathtub and placed his wife under the water. Alderman and Brown then left the apartment and went to two Savannah bars.

Around 10 p.m., they returned to the apartment and took Mrs. Alderman’s body out of the tub and wrapped it in a green quilt. They placed her body in the trunk of Alderman’s car and with Brown driving the car, Alderman followed on his motorcycle to Dasher’s Creek in Rincon.

Once there, they put the victim’s body behind the steering wheel and pushed the car toward the water. They left the engine and the lights on and the transmission in drive, but the car did not go all the way into the creek.

Alderman then told Brown to open the car door and let the victim’s body fall out slightly, leaving the impression that it was an accident.

Brown testified against Alderman at the trial. Alderman and Brown were each found guilty of murder and sentenced to death.

Brown’s sentence was changed to life and he was released in 1987.

For his last meal, Alderman had requested one fried chicken breast, a dozen fried shrimp, one order of French fries, salad with Russian or French dressing, iced tea and one pint of cherry or strawberry ice cream.