Nathaniel Woods Wiki – Biography
Nathaniel Woods, was convicted of masterminding an ambush against the officers as they tried to arrest him on drugs charges in 2004.
He had always protested his innocence. Activists and celebrities including Martin Luther King III and Kim Kardashian West intervened in the case. On Thursday the US Supreme Court issued a stay of execution but then lifted it. 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.”
Nathaniel Woods Age
He is 44 years old.
Nathaniel Woods Execution
Nathaniel Woods never pulled the trigger, but prosecutors said he was just as guilty as the man who did. He had been a mastermind, prosecutors said, luring police officers in Birmingham, Ala., into a house where three of them were killed.
A judge sentenced him 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.
Instead, his supporters claimed that Mr. Woods had been sent to death row based on a case rife with flaws and because of a practice in capital punishment cases that allows a defendant to be condemned without a unanimous jury decision — a practice that has been abandoned by every state but Alabama.
Mr. Woods was convicted in 2005, and at his sentencing prosecutors portrayed him as someone who hated the police. The officers’ widows said they believed that Mr. Woods ought to die, and all but two of the jurors agreed.
On Thursday, Mr. Woods, 44, was executed at 9:01 p.m. local time at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., state officials said.
An intense effort by death penalty activists and civil rights groups, which swelled in the final hours to include celebrities and prominent activists outside Alabama, ultimately failed in persuading the courts or Gov. Kay Ivey to intervene. The United States Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on Thursday evening, just minutes before his execution was scheduled to take place, but the stay was soon lifted. Ms. Ivey declined to step in.
“A jury of Mr. Woods’s peers convicted him of four counts of capital murder,” Ms. Ivey said in a statement explaining her rationale, which was issued shortly after the execution. “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.”
As Mr. Woods’s case attracted widespread attention, it highlighted Alabama’s persistence in carrying out the death penalty, even as capital punishment has increasingly fallen out of favor across the country. Advocates have also used his case, with its lack of a unanimous verdict, to shine a light on a practice neglected by other states as courts ruled that it was unconstitutional.
Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that allowing death sentences without a unanimous decision “creates a heightened risk that an innocent person will be sentenced to death.” Valerie P. Hans, a law professor at Cornell University, said that unanimity, in capital punishment cases and others, tends to promote “more thorough deliberations, more accurate outcomes, increased consideration of all viewpoints in a deliberation, and greater confidence in jury decisions.”
Mr. Woods’s supporters have noted that there was no dispute that Mr. Woods was not the gunman, and that the actual gunman had also argued Mr. Woods’s innocence. They have also described inept representation; one lawyer abandoned him during his appeals process.
Mr. Woods 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 since he was not the gunman.
“At literally every step of the way, Nate’s counsel has let him down,” said Lauren Faraino, a lawyer in Birmingham who has been an ardent supporter of Mr. Woods’s.
But in a letter to the governor arguing against a reprieve, Alabama’s attorney general, Steve Marshall, said that Mr. Woods was “not an innocent bystander” and that his case had been handled properly.
“His trial and appeal were fair, and justice can only be achieved by the execution of his lawfully imposed sentence,” Mr. Marshall wrote. “The murder of three police officers deserves no sentences less than death.”
Most states have abolished the ability to impose a death sentence based on only a majority of votes. In Alabama, where the State Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the practice, at least 10 jurors have to vote in favor of the death penalty for the judge to impose it.
Charges and Arrested
In one of the most recent cases, Christopher Price, who was convicted of robbing and killing a minister, was executed in May; the jury at his trial voted 10 to 2 in favor of the death penalty.
“Historically, unanimity has been a hallmark of our jury system,” said Randy Susskind, the deputy director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that seeks to fight mass incarceration and excessive punishment.
“In a death penalty case,” Mr. Susskind added, “where the jury is tasked with deciding whether someone should live or die — and they’re the conscience of the community, and they have already convicted the defendant of capital murder — the idea that the state is unable to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt is a pretty important factor.”
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Delaware and Florida had also been among the limited number of states that allowed judges to sentence a person to death row without a unanimous verdict. But in Delaware, the State Supreme Court in 2016 ruled it unconstitutional. (Delaware has not carried out an execution since 2012.)
In Florida, a legal battle over the role of jurors in determining death sentences ascended to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down parts of the state’s capital punishment system in 2016. As a result, state lawmakers instituted a requirement for a supermajority of 10 jurors to vote in favor of the death penalty, but that was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court, which found such sentences required a unanimous vote.
But in January, the State Supreme Court reversed its previous decision, with a majority asserting that in the earlier ruling the justices “got it wrong.” The decision created a potential opening for state lawmakers to consider reverting to the former standard.
In 2017, Alabama became the last state in the country to end a practice in which judges were allowed to override a jury’s decision of a life sentence and impose the death penalty.
Nathaniel Woods was charged with the 2004 killings of three police officers Calos Owne, Harley A. Chishmolm III, and Charles R. Bannett in Birmingham.
— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) March 5, 2020