The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt an execution on Tuesday despite a juror’s racial slurs against the inmate.

Alex Brandon/AP

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt the scheduled execution of a Georgia man convicted of murder on Tuesday despite evidence his sentencing jury had been tainted by racism. Thomas Buffington, a juror in the 1997 trial of Kenneth Fults, signed an affidavit in 2005 saying “that’s what that nigger deserved.”

Georgia executed Fults by lethal injection at 7:37 p.m. local time, according to a statement from the state attorney general’s office.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request for clemency on Monday, leaving the high court as his last remaining chance at avoiding lethal injection. Fults filed an eleventh-hour request last week for the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied previous petitions to hear his case, to directly intervene.

Fults’ execution Tuesday night will come almost 20 years after the original crime. Fults, a black man, pled guilty to the January 1996 murder of Cathy Bounds, his white neighbor, after shooting her five times in the back of the head during a series of burglaries. The jury sentenced him to death in May of 1997.

After sentencing, Fults’ case began the complex appeals process that accompanies any death-penalty case. First, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence on direct review in June 2001. From there, Fults then sought a separate habeas review in the state courts in 2003 and in federal courts in 2009.

While his lawyers gathered evidence for the state habeas review, one of their investigators interviewed Buffington, who served on the jury that sentenced Fults to death. Buffington had told the court during jury selection he held no racial biases. Eight years later, his answer changed.

“I don’t know if [Fults] ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened,” the 79-year-old man said in a sworn affidavit in April 2005. “Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what that nigger deserved.”

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