Andrew Howard Brannan Cop Killer Interview

Georgia executes Vietnam veteran for 1998 police killing

A man who fatally shot a sheriff’s deputy who stopped him for speeding on a Georgia interstate has been put to death for the 1998 killing, which was captured on the patrol car’s video camera.

Andrew Howard Brannan, 66, was pronounced dead at 8.33pm on Tuesday after a single-drug injection for the shooting murder of Kyle Dinkheller, 22.

"I extend my condolences to the Dinkheller family, especially Kyle’s parents and his wife and his two children," Brannan said in a statement moments before the injection was administered.

Lawyers for Brannan, a Vietnam veteran, had unsuccessfully called authorities to spare his life, saying the shooting was tied to mental illness directly traced to Brannan's military service.

Dinkheller had stopped Brannan for speeding and demanded he take his hands from his pockets during a traffic stop, officials said. 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 at least nine times, authorities said.

Parts of the confrontation was captured by a video camera in Dinkheller’s patrol car and a microphone he wore.

Police found Brannan the next day hiding under a camouflage tarp near his home. He had been shot in the stomach, apparently by Dinkheller.

Brannan volunteered to serve in the US army in 1968 and received two commendation medals and a Bronze Star for his service in the Vietnam war, the clemency petition said, adding he had been repeatedly exposed to death and violence in Vietnam.

Veterans Administration doctors had diagnosed Brannan with post-traumatic stress disorder in 1984 and determined that his condition had deteriorated to the point of 100% disability by 1990, the petition said. That mental illness was compounded by bipolar disorder diagnosed in 1996, his lawyers added.

Brannan was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000. He challenged the legality of his conviction and sentence in 2003 and a state court judge threw out his sentence on grounds that his trial lawyer failed to present complete mental health defenses. But the Georgia supreme court later tossed out that ruling and reinstated the death sentence.