It was in the wee hours of Jan. 3, 1995.
Two Mercer University students -- Michele Cartagena, 19, and Grant Hendrickson, 22, were parked at The Point at Lake Juliette when a man theyd never met fired 19 bullets into their car, killing them both.
The shooter, Andrew Allen Cook, who remained on the loose for nearly two years, is scheduled to be executed Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.
Hes been on Georgias death row since March 19, 1998.
Cook, 38, lost his last appeal in January.
A Monroe County Superior Court judge issued an order Tuesday setting a seven-day window for the execution, beginning at noon Feb. 21.
Mary Hendrickson, 66, has kept up with Cooks appeals and attended as many hearings as she could, to let them know that someone on Michele and Grants side still cares.
Grant, her only child, would have been 40 now.
On Monday, she learned of her sons killers execution date being set, and since then said she had been very nervous, very anxious, all kinds of mixed emotions. It brings it all back up. And also Im relieved.
She said that Cook has never apologized or offered an explanation of why he killed her son.
It would be nice to know what went through his mind, Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson, who lives in Macon, said she hasnt decided if she will attend the execution at the prison just off Interstate 75 near Jackson.
Purely an act of meanness
Campers at the Dames Ferry recreation area off Ga. 87 near Juliette discovered Cartagena and Henrickson dead early on the morning of Jan. 3, 1995. Cartagena had been dragged from her new Honda Civic and was partially undressed. A wad of tobacco spit was on one of her legs.
The investigation lasted nearly two years before detectives got a break in the case.
In 1996, authorities learned that Cook had bought a certain model Colt AR-15 rifle from Arvins, a downtown Macon gun and pawn shop. The guns used to shoot Cartagena and Hendrickson were a Colt AR-15 and a Ruger 9 millimeter.
Cook, who had been living in a trailer on Fortville Road in Jones County, confessed during a phone conversation with his father, then-FBI agent John Cook.
Interviewed last week, Richard Milam, Towaliga Circuit District Attorney said Cooks lawyers still could request a stay of execution.
Before an execution, clemency hearings typically also are held during which witnesses for the defense and prosecution testify before the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, he said.
Monroe County residents take murder cases personally, Milam said.
They dont like the fact that terrible crimes take place in their community, he said. You dont kill people and expect nothing is going to happen.
No connection between Cook and his victims was ever discovered, Milam said.
This was just purely an act of meanness. There is no explanation for it, he said.
In the years since the murders, Mary Hendrickson said the emotional toll has been difficult for her and Cartagenas parents.
Time takes care of stuff, she said, but it never goes away.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.