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Ford clemency request denied; execution set

COVINGTON -- The state Board of Pardons and Paroles met Friday to consider a clemency request from attorneys representing condemned Newton County murderer Melbert Ray Ford and it was denied.

Ford is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, where he has been on death row for 23 years. He will die by lethal injection and will be the 24th Georgia inmate to be put death in that manner.

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Ford has requested a last meal consisting of fried fish and shrimp, a baked potato, salad, boiled corn, ice cream, cheesecake and soda.

Ford was convicted in 1987 of killing his former girlfriend, Martha Chapman Matich, and Lisa Chapman, her 11-year-old niece, in a 1986 robbery at Chapman's Grocery store on Ga. Highway 81.

According to court records, Ford had told a friend that he "was going to blow her ... brains out," and devised a plan to rob the store, saying he intended to kidnap Matich, take her into the woods, make her beg and then shoot her in the forehead.

"At 10:20 p.m. (on March 6, 1986), the store's burglar alarm sounded. A Newton County sheriff's deputy arrived at 10:27 p.m. Ms. Matich was lying dead behind the counter, shot three times. Lisa Chapman was discovered in the bathroom, shot in the head but still alive, sitting on a bucket, bleeding from the head and having convulsions. She could answer no questions. She died later," court records state.

Ford was convicted of two counts of murder, armed robbery, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to death on each of the murder convictions.

Other Newton County inmates also awaiting execution are William David Riley Sr. and Bryan Keith Terrell.