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February 14, 2014

Oxygen series revisits Esposito murder case

MILLEDGEVILLE —

An Oxygen network depiction of the John Anthony Esposito murder spree airs at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The 1998 death penalty case tried in Baldwin County was re-visited once in 2009 through the Investigation Discovery Network “Wicked Attraction” program. 

Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright, who was lead prosecutor on the Georgia murder trial, participated in Jupiter Entertainment’s production for the Oxygen program “Snapped: Killer Couples” back in early August 2013. 

The show features couples whose passion drives them to commit terrible criminal acts. The series profiles couples incarcerated for serious crimes, as well as the relationship dynamic that led to such violence.

The production team interviewed Chief Investigator Mark Robinson, who was also involved with Esposito’s prosecution in 1998, and Bright at the Baldwin Courthouse.

Esposito awaits execution on Georgia’s death row after years of endless appeals, the latest of which is pending the final ruling in federal habeas corpus by the U.S. District Court. His girlfriend accomplice, Alicia Woodward, is serving a life sentence in Atlanta. Esposito murdered three elderly people over a two-week period in 1996, aided by Woodward who served as the bait.

On Oct. 2, 1998, after a nine-day trial, a jury of eight men and four women took only two hours to convict Esposito for the 1996 bludgeoning death of 90-year-old Lola Davis of Lumberton, N.C.

The Esposito case was tried in Baldwin County after an accepted change of venue from the Morgan County location where Davis’ body was discovered outside Madison in September 1996.

“It was a two-week, knock-down-drag-out jury trial,” Bright said.   

All of the evidence rests in the Baldwin Superior Court Clerk’s office as well.

Esposito and Woodward abducted Davis from a grocery store parking lot on Sept. 19, 1996, after Woodward persuaded Davis to give her a ride from the store to a location behind a nearby movie theater.

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