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The Georgia Supreme Court faces a decision today on whether to stay this evening’s execution of Keith Ronald Spivey. Spivey, 61, is on Death Row for a 1976 Columbus, Ga., crime spree that left two dead, including an off-duty Columbus police officer. His bid to halt his execution comes amid protests that death by electrocution constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. If the high court declines to halt the sentence, the question will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Failing that, Spivey will die in Georgia’s electric chair at 7 tonight. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles will hold a clemency hearing at 10 a.m. today. Anti-death penalty demonstrators are planning to convene on the steps of the Capitol at 3 p.m. — just four hours before the execution. In keeping with procedures at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Spivey was segregated from the prison population on Monday. Today, he will meet with family, friends and clergy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at which time he will be given a physical and taken to a special cell to await execution. For the first time in Georgia’s history an execution may be recorded on videotape. Three superior court judges on Friday issued separate orders allowing Spivey’s execution to be videotaped and his body to be autopsied. The taping and autopsy were sought by men who are charged with capital crimes, and who hope to preserve evidence to establish that execution by electrocution is a cruel and unusual punishment. The state has not yet appealed those rulings to the Georgia Supreme Court.

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