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Nathaniel Woods who currently on death row and was set to be on Thursday at 6:00pm in the state of Alabama for a crime that has no evidence saying he is guilty. In his 2005 trial, Prosecutors painted Mr. Woods as a man who hated police, calling him a mastermind that lured police officers into a house where 3 of them were killed, but supporters argue that the case was deeply flawed and that there is no evidence showing a plan to ambush the officers.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay of execution for Woods. That stay is in place until further order from the nation’s high court. Woods’ execution could proceed later Thursday night if the court issues an order lifting the stay, as long as the execution procedure begins before Woods’ death warrant expires at midnight.
Woods was sentenced to death for the 2004 murders of Birmingham officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisholm III and Charles R. Bennett, who were shot to death as they were serving a warrant. Woods was in the apartment when the officers were killed by another man, Kerry Spencer, who is awaiting execution at a later date.
Spencer wrote a letter, obtained by Fox News Thursday, saying Woods is “100% innocent” and saying he was “unjustly” charged, tried and convicted. “I know this to be a fact because I’m the person that shot and killed all three of the officers that Nathaniel was subsequently charged and convicted of murdering.”
Mr. Woods’s supporters have noted that there was no dispute that Mr. Woods was not the shooter, and that the actual gunman had also argued Mr. Woods’s innocence. They have also described inept representation, with one lawyer abandoning him during his appeals process.
Ten jurors agreed to the death penalty but two others voted against, but in Alabama, a judge can sentence a defendant to death without a jury voting unanimously in favor.
Alabama is the only state that this is still allowed. Courts in other states have ruled that such sentences are unconstitutional and “creates a heightened risk that an innocent person will be sentenced to death,” according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Action by the governor was one of his few remaining options.
Mr. Woods, 44, turned down a plea deal of 20 to 25 years in prison, supporters said, because he had been misled into believing he could not be sentenced to death when he was not the gunman. but prosecutors said he was just as guilty as the man who did.
In the trial of Kerry Spencer, the man who prosecutors said plotted with Mr. Woods and fired at the officers, the judge overruled a jury’s decision to impose a sentence of life in prison without parole and instead sentenced him to death. Mr. Spencer remains on death row.
#NathanielWoods is scheduled to be executed in Alabama TONIGHT for murders he did NOT commit. Join the broad coalition- including members of the jury and relatives of the victims – in urging @GovernorKayIvey and @AGSteveMarshall to stay Nate’s execution.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 5, 2020