Execution set for man convicted of killing Baldwin sheriff’s deputy

Nearly 20 years after a Baldwin County sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot in the line of duty, his killer is set to be executed.

Robert Wayne Holsey, 49, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Dec. 9. The execution order, which covers a seven-day window through noon Dec. 16, was filed Thursday, according to a news release from the office of state Attorney General Sam Olens.

Holsey shot and killed Deputy Will Robinson in the early-morning hours of Dec. 17, 1995, after robbing a Jet Food Store in Milledgeville.

“The family and law enforcement and everybody involved has watched this case for many years now,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee, who was in office at the time of the shooting. “It’s more than just a family loss and a law enforcement loss. It’s a community loss.”

According to the Georgia Supreme Court, on the night of the killing, an armed Holsey entered the convenience store shortly before 1:30 a.m. and demanded money. After the clerk complied, Holsey fled in a small red car.

Less than four minutes later, Robinson stopped the suspected vehicle at a nearby motel. As he approached the vehicle, shots were fired. Witnesses saw a man matching Holsey’s description return to the car and speed away.

Robinson, who suffered a fatal shot to the head, was left bleeding near his patrol car at the Royal Inn Motel on Irwinton Road. The 26-year-old had fired at Holsey several times, striking Holsey’s vehicle.

Holsey parked the red car at his sister’s house and asked his girlfriend to meet him there. He had her drive him by the murder scene and then back to his sister’s house. While he was still in his girlfriend’s Jeep Cherokee, which was parked behind the red car, a law enforcement officer pulled up. Holsey was arrested after initially denying requests to surrender.

Authorities found clothes nearby that matched the description of those worn by the armed robbery suspect. Shoes removed from Holsey after his arrest matched witness descriptions from the armed robbery and the killing. DNA analysis showed that a sample of blood taken from one of the shoes was consistent with the blood of Robinson.

After being convicted of malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery on Feb. 11, 1997, Holsey has gone through his direct appeals and habeas corpus process. The trial involved a change of venue to Morgan County due to pretrial publicity and the appointment of a judge after those in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit disqualified themselves.

Holsey had a history of violent crimes that began when, as a juvenile, he held a butcher knife to another child’s throat. As an adult, Holsey was convicted of two armed robberies, aggravated assaults with guns, a knife and a brick.

Now the end is nearing.

“I think it’ll give some finality, not only to the family but to the community,” Massee said of the pending execution.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.