Man executed despite Kim’s plea


Inmate Nathaniel Woods, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:01pm on Thursday following a lethal injection at the state prison in Atmore, authorities said.

The inmate had no last words before the chemicals began flowing, but appeared to arrange his hands in a sign of his Islamic faith.

Alabama’s first execution of the year came after a last-minute bid to stop it, that included support from the son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King III, reality star Kim Kardashian, and others who argued it was unfair to execute a man who didn’t pull the trigger in the slaying.

Kim Kardashian West (R) and Kanye West has attempted to intervene in the execution of a drug dealer accused of killing three police officers. Picture: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The state of Alabama said that Woods was an active participant with the slayings and had bragged about it afterwards in statements, song lyrics and art.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay to consider last-minute appeals as the family of Woods celebrated — but then the court denied the inmate’s petitions.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey denied a request for clemency and the decision was reversed just hours later despite the petition for ineffective counsel and the protests of celebrities including Kim Kardashian who tweeted the case to her 64 million followers, pleading for a stay of execution.

Woods and Kerry Spencer were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the slayings of the three Birmingham officers.

The officers’ deaths in a hail of gunfire rocked Alabama’s largest city in 2004.

Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisolm III and Charles R. Bennett died while trying to serve a misdemeanour 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.

Family members of the slain officers gave statements to the media after the execution, describing lives shattered by the shootings.

“Nathaniel Woods chose his fate on June 17, 2004. That horrific day could have been prevented if he had any kind of compassion or respect for law enforcement,” Starr Sidelinker said in reading a statement on behalf of Chisholm’s sister. Greg Owen, the son of officer Owen, said in a written statement that his father was a 58-year-old grandfather who only wanted to protect people in the city where he grew up.

“Instead of going home that day, he was ambushed, murdered and died on the floor of a filthy drug house,” Greg Owen wrote.

Son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King III, and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King. King III joined Kim Kardashian in protesting the execution. Picture: Getty Images for TIME

Son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King III, and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., Bernice King. King III joined Kim Kardashian in protesting the execution. Picture: Getty Images for TIMESource:Getty Images

Testimony showed the officers approached a small house where Woods and Spencer were believed to deal drugs; at least two other people were also inside.

After talking to Woods through a back door, Owen and Chisholm entered.

State lawyers wrote in court filings that Woods said he was surrendering to officers and soon after Spencer opened fire with a high-powered rifle.

At his 2005 trial, a prosecutor told jurors that Woods was the “bait” and lured officers deeper in the apartment.

Owen, 58, and Chisholm, 40, were found dead in the kitchen just inside a rear door, and Bennett, 33, was fatally shot near the front door.

A fourth officer was wounded but survived.

Supporters waged a last-minute appeal to stop the execution as the case drew national attention.

Supporters argued that Spencer said he was the sole person responsible for the shootings and that Woods received an unfair trial in 2005.

Kim Kardashian has previously met with US President Donald Trump to talk about prison reform. Picture: Twitter/Donald Trump

Kim Kardashian has previously met with US President Donald Trump to talk about prison reform. Picture: Twitter/Donald TrumpSource:Supplied

“He is actually innocent,” Woods’ sister, Pamela Woods, had told reporters outside the prison earlier on Thursday.

“Kerry Spencer the actual shooter has stated many times that he did it on his own with no help [from] anyone.”

Spencer told The Appeal in an article about the case that Woods was “100% innocent.” “Killing this African-American man, whose case appears to have been strongly mishandled by the courts, could produce an irreversible injustice. Are you willing to allow a potentially innocent man to be executed?” Martin Luther King III had written the state’s governor, Ivey.

Woods had no last words after the warden read his death warrant.

At one point during the procedure, the inmate jerked his left arm upward against the restraints of the gurney. His breathing became laboured and then slowed until it was no longer apparent.

No execution date has been set for Spencer, who was convicted before Woods and is on death row.





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