The U.S. state of Alabama on Thursday executed a man found guilty of murdering of three police officers, despite a campaign to save him by activists including celebrity Kim Kardashian.
Nathaniel Woods, 44, was accused of being the “mastermind” behind the 2004 deaths of police officers allegedly lured into an ambush when they tried to arrest him on drug charges.
Woods did not pull the trigger but was given the same sentence as the gunman, Kerry Spencer.
Spencer described Woods as “100 percent” innocent in a recent letter to U.S. media, saying that “I know this to be a fact because I’m the person that shot and killed all three of the officers.”
Woods, who always protested his innocence, died by lethal injection.
Just got off phone with Kimberly Chisholm Simmons, sister of Harley Chisholm III, one of 3 Birmingham police officers killed in 2004. She does not support the execution of #NateWoods. "He did not kill my brother. This is so unjust. I don't understand," she told me in tears. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/bwt7jKRLPp
— Beth Shelburne (@bshelburne) March 6, 2020
“Tonight, justice has been served,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement.
Woods was convicted by 10 of the 12 jurors in 2005. Alabama is the only U.S. state that does not require an unanimous verdict to impose the death penalty.
Kardashian, a regular campaigner against the death penalty, tweeted earlier that Woods was “scheduled to be executed in Alabama TONIGHT for murders he did NOT commit.”
She joined about 120,000 people who had urged Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to grant a reprieve.
“Are you willing to allow a potentially innocent man to be executed?” Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights leader, asked in a letter to the governor posted on Twitter.
And it is done.
The State of Alabama just executed an innocent man. Nate Woods is dead.
We are crushed that Nate experienced this grizzly injustice and crushed for his family.
This is a modern day lynching. He broke no laws, at all. Never fired a gun. And surrendered.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) March 6, 2020
The sister of one of the murdered officers also reached out to Ivey’s office, pleading for her to stop the execution. The governor’s office never returned her call.
Hours before the execution, a temporary stay was issued on the execution order, but it was then denied by the Supreme Court.
Woods was the fifth person to die by execution in 2020 in the United States.