Despite Outcry, Alabama Executes Nathaniel Woods

He was convicted of being an accomplice in the killings of 3 officers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2020 12:40 AM CST
Updated Mar 6, 2020 7:01 AM CST
Alabama Executes Inmate Convicted in Killing of 3 Cops
"Killing this African American man, whose case appears to have been strongly mishandled by the courts, could produce an irreversible injustice," Martin Luther King III told Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.   (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, File)

A man convicted in the 2004 killings of three police officers in Alabama who were shot by another man was executed Thursday evening. Nathaniel Woods, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:01pm following a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore, authorities say. The inmate had no last words before the chemicals began flowing, but appeared to arrange his hands in a Muslim sign of faith, the AP reports. Woods and Kerry Spencer were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the slayings of the three Birmingham officers. Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisolm III, and Charles R. Bennett were shot while trying to serve a misdemeanor domestic assault warrant on Woods at a suspected drug house.

Prosecutors said Spencer was the triggerman in the slaying, opening fire on the officers with a high-powered rifle inside the apartment, though Woods was convicted as an accomplice. Supporters, including the son of Martin Luther King Jr., waged a last-minute appeal to stop the execution. Supporters argued that Spencer said he was the sole person responsible for the shootings and that Woods received an unfair trial in 2005. "He is actually innocent," Woods' sister, Pamela Woods, had told reporters outside the prison earlier Thursday. "Kerry Spencer the actual shooter has stated many times that he did it on his own with no help for anyone." Woods' lawyers say a surviving officer has testified that Woods had surrendered to police before Spencer began shooting.

(Read more Alabama stories.)

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