A Birmingham man was scheduled to be executed Thursday for being an confederate to the 2004 homicide of three law enforcement officials regardless of the triggerman saying he’s “100% innocent.”
Nathaniel Woods, 43, was sentenced to demise in 2005, although he’s not truly accused of killing the officers and by all accounts didn’t have a gun on the time of the capturing.
The U.S. Supreme Court entered a short lived keep shortly after 5:30 p.m.. The court docket lifted the non permanent keep of execution about eight p.m., and the Alabama Department of Corrections started getting ready for the scheduled execution. Such stays are routine earlier than an execution to provide justices time to a assessment a case.
The execution might nonetheless occur tonight if the keep is lifted earlier than midnight, when the demise warrant expires.
Woods visited along with his members of the family Thursday afternoon, together with his daughter and granddaughter. His sister Pamela stated after they have been searching for time to submit proof to the courts on Woods’ behalf, and appealed to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to intervene to cease Thursday’s scheduled execution.
“We want justice for the officers,” she stated. “We want justice for my brother. It can’t be one-sided or for one group of people. You have to have justice for everyone. We want justice for Nathaniel.”
Woods, 43, was convicted on capital homicide expenses in the deaths of three Birmingham law enforcement officials in 2004. Charles Bennett; Carlos “Curly” Owen and Harley Chisholm III have been shot and killed in a drug home on Birmingham’s west facet on June 17, 2004. The shooter, Kerry Spencer, is on demise row; an execution date for Spencer has not been set.
Though Woods has acknowledged he and Spencer offered medicine, he has not been accused of pulling the set off.
But at his 2005 trial, prosecutors argued that Woods had “conspired” with the shooter, Kerry Spencer. Alabama regulation makes an individual legally accountable for the habits of one other particular person if she or he “procures, induces or causes such other person to commit the offense.” Prosecutors didn’t present proof that Woods held or fired a gun through the incident.
A jury convicted Woods and voted 10-2 to condemn him to demise. Spencer advised The Appeal final month that Woods was not concerned and that “there was no plan to kill the police.”
Woods’ counsel had no expertise with capital trials and missed vital deadlines to file appeals. A witness who initially advised law enforcement officials that Woods threatened to kill one of many slain officers later recanted, saying she advised investigators “what you wanted to hear.”
Beyond the trial arguments, Woods was additionally pursuing separate appeals, arguing the state was discriminating in opposition to inmates who aren’t searching for demise by nitrogen gasoline. Alabama has not established a technique of execution by nitrogen gasoline, and people who have chosen to die by that methodology have seen their sentences suspended.
A 3-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Woods’ arguments on Wednesday afternoon. U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, a former Alabama lawyer common, wrote that Woods had failed to ascertain a chance of success on the claims.
Attorneys for Woods additionally cited a pending case earlier than the U.S. Supreme Court, Ramos v. Louisiana, difficult non-unanimous jury selections in demise penalty circumstances, arguing that the choice had direct bearing on his case.
“If the Supreme Court were to hold on Friday that non-unanimous verdicts offend the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Sixth Amendment, it would be a tragedy if a man sentenced to death on a 10-2 death verdict were executed on Thursday,” attorneys wrote in a submitting. “With the risk of an unconstitutional execution so high, the equities strongly favor a stay until the opinion is announced.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s non permanent keep on Thursday night, Woods’ attorneys filed a brand new keep utility associated to problems with insufficient counsel at Woods’ trial and thru the appellate course of. Attorney General Steve Marshall referred to as the submitting “an eleventh-hour exercise in gamesmanship.”
The case has drawn nationwide consideration. Over 96,000 folks signed a petition on change.org as of 5:20 p.m. asking for Woods’ execution to be stopped. Martin Luther King III wrote an open letter to Ivey urging her to intervene.
“Killing this African American man, whose case appears to have been strongly mishandled by the courts, could produce an irreversible injustice,” King wrote. “Are you willing to allow a potentially innocent man to be executed?”
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama stated in a press release Thursday he referred to as Ivey’s workplace to specific issues in regards to the case.
“Given the questions and mitigating issues involved in this case — and the finality of a death sentence — a delay is warranted to provide time for a thorough review of all the facts and circumstances to truly ensure that justice is done,” the assertion stated.
Kim Kardashian West despatched a tweet urging Ivey to commute Woods’ sentence, and later shared a quantity for Gov. Ivey’s workplace. The rapper and actor T.I. additionally referred to as on followers to contact Ivey. O.J. Simpson posted a video calling for clemency. The household of former Alabama and Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr additionally referred to as for clemency.
Woods’ household delivered letters to Ivey on Wednesday in protest of the execution.
The debate over Woods prolonged to the ground of the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday morning. Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, advised the physique that “the evidence shows (Woods) is an innocent man.”
“What we are facing right now is a travesty what happened,” he stated. “Those families lost their families, their husbands, their fathers, their brothers. But the man who’s been in prison all these years didn’t do anything to cause him to be on death row.”
Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Birmingham, a veteran of the Birmingham Police Department who knew the officers who have been killed that day, stated he “lost three buddies that day.”
“My thoughts today go to that family,” he stated. “To his wife that called me crying, who called and said ‘Allen, do you think I’ll live long enough to see justice served?'”
Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, stated he didn’t have an issue with capital punishment for many who pulled the set off. But he stated Woods didn’t match that invoice.
“He did not kill one officer,” he stated. “He was a drug addict in the wrong place at the wrong time.”