BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — June 17, 2004 is considered the deadliest day in Birmingham Police Department’s history.
Three police officers were shot to death while a fourth was injured. Court records state the officers were attempting to execute a misdemeanor warrant against Nathaniel Woods at a home in Birmingham’s Ensley neighborhood. Officers entered the home.
In the moments that followed, Kerry Spencer shot all four men. During his trial, Spencer confessed to the shootings.
Bart Starr Jr. and his wife have been advocating for the courts and Gov. Kay Ivey to take a closer look at Woods’ case. Starr, son of legendary Alabama and Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr Sr., said his wife has read through the thousands of court documents surrounding this case.
“If what is known now, had been known then, and been properly presented, there is no chance Mr. Woods would be on death row,” Starr said.
Starr said going through the case, it is clear Woods should not be on death row. On March 5, Woods is set to be executed by lethal injection.
“Mr. Woods did not get adequate representation, and some of the facts, that have been subsequently discovered in terms of changes in testimony,” he said. “Things that should have been presented and never were presented in this case, have to be looked at in their own merits.”
After Kerry Spencer’s capital murder conviction, Woods was offered a plea deal of 20-25 years. Court documents show Woods turned down that deal.
“For the shooter to get life without parole after two and a half days of deliberation by that jury, and for Nate, who was convicted on a theory of complicity, to receive death by the jury after two and half hours– that’s crazy to me,” said Lauren Faraino, pro bono attorney for Woods.
The jury’s recommendation for Spencer was life without the possibility of parole. The judge overrode that decision and sentenced him to death.
Gov. Ivey has the ability to stop an execution from taking place, up until the moments before the lethal drug is injected. Ivey said this responsibility is the most difficult part of her job.
“So I will be briefed thoroughly by my attorneys and the court record, and be very sure before I give the go-ahead,” Ivey said.
On Friday, Starr will be hand-delivering documents to the governor’s office, hoping his wife’s research can spare Woods’ life.
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