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Ga. man convicted of killing sheriff's deputy to be executed
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Andrew Howard Brannan - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA - A Georgia man convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in 1998 is set to be executed later this month, state corrections officials said Friday.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens has scheduled the execution of Andrew Howard Brannan, 66, for Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, according to a department news release.

Brannan was sentenced to die for the January 1998 slaying of 22-year-old Laurens County sheriff's deputy Kyle Dinkheller. The shooting was captured by the video camera on Dinkheller's patrol car.

Authorities have said Dinkheller stopped Brannan for driving 98 mph and demanded he take his hands from his pockets. Brannan then began cursing, dancing in the street and saying "shoot me" before he rushed the deputy. After a scuffle, Brannan pulled a high-powered rifle from his car and shot Dinkheller nine times.

Police found Brannan the next day hiding in a sleeping bag beneath a camouflage tarp about 100 yards from a house where they had tracked him after the shooting. He had been shot in the stomach, apparently by Dinkheller.

A jury convicted him in 2000, and the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the conviction two years later.

His trial attorney had argued an insanity defense and called expert witnesses who testified Brannan suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which had triggered a flashback to Vietnam.

But a court-appointed psychiatrist concluded he was sane, and a Glynn County jury convicted him of murder. The trial was moved from Laurens County because of pretrial publicity.

Brannan challenged the legality of his conviction and sentence in 2003, and a state court judge threw out both on grounds that his trial lawyer failed to present complete mental health defenses.

Arguing before the Georgia Supreme Court in 2008, a lawyer for Brannan said the trial attorneys failed to uncover traumas Brannan had experienced in Vietnam and to present evidence that he also suffered from bipolar disorder.

A lawyer for the state argued the investigation was thorough and the trial lawyers chose not to emphasize Brannan's bipolar disorder, in part because his post-traumatic stress disorder was better documented.

The high court found that his trial counsel did an adequate job of presenting that defense.


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