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franklin county times

Execution date set in 1989 murder, robbery

By By William F. West / community editor
Dec. 11, 2002
A Jan. 8 execution date was set Tuesday for a 29-year-old Columbus man convicted of the 1989 murder and robbery of a Lowndes County store clerk.
Ronald Chris Foster was found guilty after a January 1991 trial in Lauderdale County Circuit Court. His defense attorneys had asked for the case to be moved from Columbus to Meridian.
State Supreme Court Justice Jim Smith on Tuesday signed papers setting the execution date, which if carried out, will be on Foster's 30th birthday.
District Attorney Forrest Allgood of Columbus said Foster received the death penalty for robbing and fatally shooting George Shelton, who worked at Hankins Superette, located in eastern Lowndes County near the Mississippi-Alabama line.
Allgood said Foster and another man, Vincent Harris, had ridden a bicycle to the store the night of June 10, 1989, but that Harris stayed away from the building.
Allgood said Hankins' death wasn't discovered until early the next morning, when a customer walked into the store to buy a cup of coffee and donuts.
Allgood said Foster did not take the stand but that Harris testified against Foster at trial. Allgood said Harris pleaded guilty as an accessory after the fact, served time in the state penitentiary and is now a free man.

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