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In closing-minute twist, Supreme Court temporarily halts execution of Alabama inmate


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In closing-minute twist, Supreme Court temporarily halts execution of Alabama inmate

Minutes before the planned execution of Alabama death row inmate Nathaniel Woods, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the move to further review his case.Nathaniel Woods, 44, who was convicted for his role in the fatal shootings of three Birmingham police officers in 2004, was set to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. in…

In closing-minute twist, Supreme Court temporarily halts execution of Alabama inmate

Minutes earlier than the planned execution of Alabama death row inmate Nathaniel Woods, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the budge to extra review his case.

Nathaniel Woods, 44, who was once convicted for his feature within the lethal shootings of three Birmingham law enforcement officials in 2004, was once set up to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. in Holman Penal advanced — the first execution within the bellow this twelve months. It was once unclear how long the high court docket’s take care of of execution would closing.

Woods’ household and prominent activists were rallying on his behalf, collecting signatures in hopes of swaying Gov. Kay Ivey. Renewed questions surrounding his trial, accusations that his case was once mishandled and greater concerns over how Alabama’s legal laws take care of gloomy defendants bear prompted enviornment in contemporary days.

Nathaniel Woods sits in a court docket all over a preliminary listening to in Birmingham, Ala., on July 30, 2004.Word Almond / Birmingham Files via AP file

Even Woods’ co-defendant, Kerry Spencer, who has confessed to being the triggerman and denies Woods was once complicit, implored for his execution to be stopped.

“Nathaniel Woods is 100% innocent,” Spencer, who remains on death row, wrote in an originate letter. “I know that to be a truth because I am the person that shot and killed all three of the officers that Nathaniel was once attributable to this truth charged and convicted of murdering. Nathaniel Woods would not even deserve to be incarcerated, extraordinary much less accomplished.”

The case drew attention from celebrities and activists, including Kim Kardashian West and Martin Luther King III, asking Ivey to intervene.

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All over Woods’ 2005 trial, prosecutors talked about he and his roommate, Spencer, had been concerned within the sale of crack cocaine from their Birmingham home.

Officers had been sent to the home to help a misdemeanor warrant, but prosecutors talked about Woods, who was once 27 at the time, arrange an ambush that allowed Spencer to shoot at them a few cases. Three officers — Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III and Charles Bennett — had been killed, whereas a fourth officer at the scene was once shot but survived.

Spencer admitted to capturing the officers, but talked about it was once in self-protection since the officers had been assaulting Woods, an assertion that the think didn’t enable at trial. Two of the officers who had been killed had been later accused by one other drug vendor at Woods’ home of caring in a tainted map that stable sellers in alternate for money. The Birmingham police declined to observation on the allegation.

The surviving officer, Michael Collins, talked about at the time that he believed Woods helped draw the capturing, but that he didn’t truly fire a weapon. In accordance with him, Woods yelled, “I quit. I quit. Correct don’t spray me with that mace,” earlier than the capturing initiated.

Collins added that “I knew it wasn’t Nathaniel” who had fired at him.

While prosecutors didn’t dispute that Spencer shot at the officers, Woods was once tagged as an accomplice, which in Alabama formula that even though a person didn’t pull the trigger, they are accumulated eligible for the death penalty.

Besides to, Alabama remains the correct bellow within the nation wherein a jury would not must be unanimous to impose the death penalty and might possible accumulated cease it with as a minimal 10 jurors in prefer.

While Spencer is on death row after he was once convicted of homicide, no execution date has been set up.

Supporters of Woods bear talked about he was once the victim of incompetent counsel who didn’t conduct an adequate investigation and missed key time limits for appeals. Woods might possible even bear benefited from a plea deal of 20 to 25 years in prison, but supporters talked about he was once wrongly educated by his obtain attorneys that he would no longer be convicted of capital homicide since the bellow fundamental to mutter he pulled the trigger.

“Mr. Woods didn’t settle for this plea deal because he belief — with counsel’s encouragement — that he would be acquitted of these prices since the evidence would mutter that he was once no longer the shooter that day,” in keeping with a petition objecting to his imprisonment.

Besides to, supporters talked about, no evidence was once produced that confirmed Woods plotted with Spencer and that it was once Spencer who acted impulsively on his obtain when he opened fire.

Alabama Attorney Long-established Steve Marshall talked about in a press start Wednesday that the concerted effort by supporters is a “closing-minute motion … to ‘set up’ cop-killer Nathaniel Woods from his just punishment.”

Image: Erik OrtizErik Ortiz

Erik Ortiz is a workers author for NBC Files specializing in racial injustice and social inequality.

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