UPDATE: (9:09 p.m.): Convicted cop killer Nathaniel Woods was killed at 9:01 p.m. He had no last words.
Gov. Kay Ivey released the following statement:
“On June 17, 2004, four Birmingham police officers went to the apartment of Nathaniel Woods, a known drug dealer, to issue a warrant of arrest. Unfortunately, only one of those officers lived to recount the horrendous assault upon him and his fellow officers.
“As explained by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, the evidence showed that Woods was an integral participant in the intentional murder of these three officers. On the day the officers were killed, Mr. Woods talked to others about killing police officers; he taunted the officers and lured them into his apartment, where he knew they would be met by gunfire; he pointed the gunman to the third police officer; and he escaped with the gunman.
“Each officer died of multiple gunshot wounds. Two officers were shot in the back and one in the head, and none of the officers had an opportunity to discharge return fire. In fact, one officer’s weapon was still holstered.
“The state offered the testimony of 39 witnesses at Woods’ capital murder trial, including Officer Michael Collins, 25 other law enforcement officers, and forensic experts. There is no evidence, and no argument has been made, that Nathaniel Woods tried to stop the gunman from committing these heinous crimes. In fact, he later bragged about his participation in these horrific murders. As such, the jury did not view Woods’ acts as those of an innocent bystander; they believed that he was a fully engaged participant.
“A jury of Mr. Woods’ peers convicted him of four counts of capital murder. In the past 15 years, his conviction has been reviewed at least nine times, and no court has found any reason to overturn the jury’s decision.
“Under Alabama law, someone who helps kill a police officer is just as guilty as the person who directly commits the crime. Since 1983, Alabama has executed two individuals for being an accomplice to capital murder.
“After thorough and careful consideration of the facts surrounding the case, the initial jury’s decision, the many legal challenges and reviews, I concluded that the state of Alabama should carry out Mr. Woods’ lawfully imposed sentence this evening.
“This is not a decision that I take lightly, but I firmly believe in the rule of law and that justice must be served. My thoughts and most sincere prayers are for the families of Officers Chisholm, Owen and Bennett. May the God of all comfort be with these families as they continue to find peace and heal from this terrible crime.”
UPDATE (7:55 pm) — The U.S. Supreme Court has lifted the stay on convicted cop killer Nathaniel Woods. The execution will move forward.
ATMORE, Ala. (WKRG) — UPDATE (5:39 p.m.): The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay of execution for Nathaniel Woods.
Woods’ family spoke with News 5 before his scheduled execution.
Nathaniel Woods, 43, is set to die by lethal injection at 6:00 Thursday evening at Holman Correctional Facility. Woods has been sitting on death row for more than a decade. He was convicted in the 2004 murders of three Birmingham Police Officers: Charles Bennett, Harley Chisholm III, and Carlos Owen.
This case has gotten national attention in the last few days after the son of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Junior got involved advocating on behalf of Nathaniel Woods. Advocates for Woods have sent several letters to Governor Kay Ivey calling him “an innocent man” since he didn’t pull the trigger. They have asked her to commute his sentence.
Kerry Spencer was also sentenced to death for the crime. Spencer has admitted he was the shooter.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is fighting for Woods’ death to move forward. He says Woods was no innocent bystander, but “a willing participant.” In a letter to Governor Ivey he cited testimony from the only surviving officer that Woods pointed out one of the officers so Spencer could shoot him.
On Thursday attorneys for Woods filed a motion in a federal court of appeals asking for a stay of execution.
A federal ruling or directive from the Governor could stop the execution at any point before the lethal drug is administered.
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