An execution date for Kenneth Earl Fults has been set for April 12, 2016. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens offers the following information in the case against Kenneth Earl Fults for the 1996 murder of nineteen year old Cathy Bounds.
Kenneth Earl Fults’ direct appeal proceedings and his state and federal habeas corpus proceedings have been concluded. Accordingly, on March 23, 2016, the Superior Court of Spalding County issued an order setting a seven-day period of time during which the execution of Kenneth Earl Fultsmay take place. The period of time ordered by the Superior Court will last from noon on April 12, 2016, to noon on April 19, 2016. The execution has been set for Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016.
Fults’ Crime (January 30, 1996)
The Georgia Supreme Court summarized the facts of the crime as follows:
The evidence adduced at Fults’ sentencing trial showed that he carried out a week-long crime spree which was centered, at least in part, upon his desire to murder a man who was engaged in a relationship with his former girlfriend. Fults first committed two burglaries, obtaining several handguns. After a failed attempt at murdering his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend with one of the stolen handguns, Fults then burglarized the home of his next-door neighbors. After the male neighbor left for work, Fults forced his way through the front door wearing gloves and a hat pulled down over his face. Fults confronted the female occupant of the home, Cathy Bounds, brandishing a .22 caliber handgun he had stolen during one of the burglaries. Ms. Bounds begged for her life and offered Fults the rings on her fingers. Fults turned Ms. Bounds around toward the bedroom, either taped or forced her to tape her eyes closed by wrapping over six feet of electrical tape around her head, forced her into the bedroom, placed her face-down on her bed, placed a pillow over her head, and shot her five times in the back of the head.
A search of Fults’ trailer home revealed a boastful letter he had written in gang code in which he described the murder with some alterations of detail. Upon being confronted with this letter by a law enforcement officer, Fults confessed to killing Ms. Bounds but maintained that he had shot her by accident while in a dream-like state. The murder weapon was recovered from under Fults’ trailer home, and .22 caliber shell casings shown to have been fired by the murder weapon as well as items from the earlier burglaries were found behind Fults’ trailer home.
Fults v. State, 274 Ga. 82, 83 (2001).
The Trial and Direct Appeal (1997-2002)
On May 19, 1997, Fults pled guilty to malice murder, felony murder, burglary, kidnapping with bodily injury and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. On May 22, 1997, following a sentencing trial, a jury recommended a death sentence for Fults. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed Fults’ convictions and death sentence on June 11, 2001. Fults v. State, 274 Ga. 82 (2001). The United States Supreme Court denied Fults’ request to appeal on March 4, 2002. Fults v. Georgia, 535 U.S. 908 (2002), rehearing denied, Fults v. Georgia, 535 U.S. 1043 (2002).
State Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2002-2009)
Fults filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia on November 26, 2002. An evidentiary hearing was held on March 20-22, 2007. On December 28, 2007, the state habeas corpus court entered an order denying Fults state habeas relief. The Georgia Supreme Court denied Fults’ appeal on April 28, 2009. The United States Supreme Court denied Fults’ request to appeal on October 5, 2009. Fults v. Upton, 558 U.S. 906 (2009).
Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings (2009-2015)
Bishop filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on March 28, 2008. On May 4, 2010, the district court denied Bishop federal habeas relief. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of relief on August 8, 2013. Bishop v. GDCP Warden, 726 F.3d 1243 (11th Cir. 2013). The United States Supreme Court denied Bishop’s request to appeal on October 6, 2014. Bishop v. Humphrey, 135 S. Ct. 67 (2014).