Spalding County

Georgia to execute man for the 1992 murder of his ex-girlfriend this month

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia Department of Corrections officials announced that a man convicted of kidnapping, rape, robbery and murder will be executed this month.

On Thursday, Spalding County court officials filed an order for a seven-day window in which the execution of Willie James Pye can occur, starting at noon on March 20.

This will be the first execution the state of Georgia has performed since Jan. 2020, when Donnie Lance was put to death by lethal injection for the 1997 murders of his ex-wife and her boyfriend in Jackson County.

Pye was convicted for the 1992 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Alicia Lynn Yarbrough.

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According to court documents, Pye had been in an on-again-off-again relationship with Yarbrough. At the time of her murder, she was living with another man, Charles Puckett.

At the time, officials said Pye and two of his friends planned to rob Puckett because he had collected money from the settlement of a lawsuit. Pye was also angry because officials said Puckett had signed the birth certificate of a child whom Pye claimed was his.

The three men then drove to Griffin, where officials said Pye bought a large pistol and then went to a party. Witnesses told the court they heard Pye say as he left, “It’s time, let’s do it.” Then, the witness said all three men wore ski masks and gloves.

Court documents said as the men approached Puckett’s house, they saw that Yarbrough and her baby were the only ones home. When Pye tried to open a window, officials said Yarbrough saw him and screamed. He then ran around to the front door, kicked it in, and held her at gunpoint.


After the men realized there was no money in the house, court records said they took a ring and a necklace from Yarbrough and abducted her, leaving the baby in the house. Officials said the men then drove to a nearby motel where Pye rented a room using an alias.

Once in the room, officials said the men raped Yarbrough at gunpoint.

Officials said the four then left the motel room and drove onto a dirt road where Pye shot and killed Yarbrough.

Police later recovered several items Pye left behind near Yarbrough’s body, linking him to the crime, court documents said.

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Pye was indicted in 1994 for malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping with bodily injury, armed robbery, burglary, rape and aggravated sodomy. His trial began in 1996 where the jury found him guilty on all counts except felony murder and aggravated sodomy.

Since being convicted, Pye has tried multiple times to appeal his conviction, however the Georgia Supreme Court denied each appeal.

State officials have not provided details regarding Pye’s execution.