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Pike killer’s death row suicide confirmed

UPDATE: Nearly 24 hours after The Herald-Gazette and The Pike County Journal-Reporter first broke this story, the Georgia Department of Corrections has finally confirmed that Leeland Mark Braley hung himself in his cell on death row. He was found dead at 5:12 a.m. New Years Day. Our sister publication,, learned Friday via anonymous sources at the Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Butts County that convicted killer Leeland Mark Braley committed suicide by hanging himself on death row overnight Dec. 31 – Jan. 1. Braley was convicted of the savage murder of Zebulon insurance agent Kelli Hammond. Hammond was attacked September 2, 1998 in her office on Hwy. 19 and stabbed repeatedly. Braley was a two-bit hoodlum with previous convictions for entering a vehicle, forgery, theft by taking and burglary in Gwinnett County and had served time at a Pike prison facility. His trial was moved to Monroe County due to extensive pretrial publicity. He was convicted of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated battery and sentenced to death on August 6, 1999. Death row inmates have been up in arms regarding new restrictions on tobacco use and a cutback in family visits. More on this story as it develops.

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