A man in Alabama has been put to death for the murder of three police officers despite a campaign to save him .
Nathaniel Woods, 43, was convicted of masterminding an ambush against the officers as they tried to arrest him on drugs charges in 2004.
Woods never pulled the trigger, but prosecutors said he was just as guilty as the man who did. He was convicted as an accomplice of the gunman, Kerry Spencer. He had been a mastermind, prosecutors said, luring police officers in Birmingham, Ala., into a house where three of them were killed. Both were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die.
According to Spencer, the violence began when police burst into the Birmingham apartment where he sold drugs. Officers were attempting to arrest Woods on an outstanding warrant, according to a summary of the case in an Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion. Woods said “OK, I give up” and was being held by officers when Spencer, who said he believed he was under attack, opened fire.
Spencer insisted that he acted alone. In a handwritten letter delivered to a lawyer for Woods this week, Spencer wrote Woods is “100% innocent.”
“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,” wrote Spencer, whose appeals are still pending. “Nathaniel Woods doesn’t even deserve to be incarcerated, let alone executed.”
At his 2005 trial, prosecutors argued that Woods hated police and lured the officers into the Birmingham house so Spencer could kill them, essentially plotting their deaths. But Woods has “steadfastly maintained his innocence in any plan to entice the three officers into the house that day,” according to the emergency appeal.
Woods’ current legal team said his previous representation was inadequate, and that evidence including allegations of police misconduct and questionable witness testimony have not been reviewed by appeals courts because of legal missteps.
A judge sentenced Woods to death, but as his execution neared on Thursday, Mr. Woods had a growing number of supporters arguing that there was no evidence showing he had plotted to ambush the officers.
“The actions of the US Supreme Court and the Governor of the State of Alabama are reprehensible and have potentially contributed to an irreversible injustice,” Martin Luther King III, the son of the civil rights icon, wrote on Twitter of Woods’ execution.”It makes a mockery of justice and constitutional guarantees to a fair trial.”
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued a last-minute stay of execution for Nathaniel Woods, who was scheduled to die at 6 p.m. The order, which is signed by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the execution will be halted pending further order from the court but later denied a stay.
This allowed the execution by lethal injection to go ahead at Holman Prison. Woods was pronounced dead at just after 09:00 (15:00 GMT).
Woods’ execution was the first in Alabama this year. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement: “Tonight, justice has been served.”
Alabama remains the only state in the nation in which a jury doesn’t have to be unanimous to impose the death penalty and can still enact it with at least 10 jurors in favor.
While the prosecution says justice was served one must take a moment to argue was justice truly served. I assert justice is only served when all doubt is gone, the burden of proof if present without question and there is literal proof beyond a reasonable doubt. No one (black or white) should slip through the cracks.
Considering the fact that his sentence and fate would be final as questions surfaced authorities should have taken such into consideration. There’s a stigma that the mainstream media and liberal leftist hacks promote and that is being “pro-life” is contradictory to being “pro-death penalty that is not true.
Yes, without question, I’m conservative, I am pro-life, pro-death penalty (i.e. a serial killer who engages in bloody murder without remorse should be done away with), I am pro-Obamacare repeal (it’s not quality healthcare), and YES I am PRO-POLICE and ARMED Black Americans. One belief does not automatically negate another.
The principal argument here is that because life is sacred, those who wrongfully take another human life must lose their own lives. This is a form of restitution; a matter of justice— the state purging itself of those who shed innocent blood. While one can argue the scriptural or Biblical foundation for this (and that may come at a later date) there is also a nuance in this matter; redemption, restoration and restorative justice is real.
Our culture engages in selective mercy, which in actuality, is no mercy at all. It is something we cannot ignore. We show “mercy” to the doctor who without a doubt kills a baby after being born but many of the same individuals show no “mercy” to the man who got caught up in a life that he didn’t ask for in his 20s. A life, gone wrong, can be restored. If only we would examine every fact minutely and answer every questions obsessively.
While justice is not always fair and though restoration is not always apart of justice we (those who deal soul work- preachers, counselors etc.) have a job to do. We must bridge the gap between justice and restoration and we do so through morality.
There must be, in my summation, four things present when dealing in and with the death penalty:
- The punishment must be proportional to the offense (Exodus 21:23-25). The extreme sanction of death should be considered only in the most serious offenses. it should be rare and the last possible option, never the first. In this you will find the necessity of the presence of reluctance, the reluctance to execute, while it on the surface may sound bloodthirsty, it was applied with great restraint. In Ezekiel 33:11 God laments, “As sure as I live . . . I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” The Lawgiver Himself was reluctant to impose the death penalty, preferring that the wrongdoers repent (turn and are restored). Reluctance is not refusal. But it does imply that execution should be a last resort, and, as Ezekiel 33 suggests, repentance or contrition could commute the death sentence.
- CERTAINTY OF GUILT
- In biblical times before a murderer could be executed, two witnesses had to confirm his guilt (Deuteronomy 17:6; Numbers 35:30). This was a very high standard of proof. The Bible says nothing of circumstantial evidence.
- Capital punishment could not, in biblical times, and should not today be imposed when the offender did not act intentionally (Numbers 35:22-24).
- DUE PROCESS
- Several provisions of the Law (God’s standard) ensured that executions took place only after appropriate judicial procedures (see Numbers 35; Deuteronomy. 17). The issue was not simply whether the accused was guilty, but whether he also had a fair chance to prove his innocence.
Was there proper proportionality? How was Woods intent proven? Was there a certainty of guilt and was there due process? These are questions asked but unanswered in certain instances.