Woods' co-defendant, who has confessed to being the triggerman and denies Woods was complicit, implored for his execution to be stopped. Alabama inmate Nathaniel Woods was executed Thursday night after the U. Renewed questions surrounding his trial, accusations that his case was mishandled and larger concerns over how Alabama's criminal laws treat black defendants have caused concern in recent days. «After thorough and careful consideration of the facts surrounding the case, the initial jury’s decision, the many legal challenges and reviews, I concluded that the state of Alabama should carry out Mr. Woods’ lawfully imposed sentence this evening,» Ivey said in a statement after Woods was executed. Even Woods' co-defendant, Kerry Spencer, who has confessed to being the triggerman and denies Woods was complicit, implored for his execution to be stopped.
«Nathaniel Woods is 100% innocent,» Spencer, who remains on death row, wrote in an open letter. «I know that 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. Nathaniel Woods doesn't even deserve to be incarcerated, much less executed». During Woods' 2005 trial, prosecutors said he and his roommate, Spencer, were involved in the sale of crack cocaine from their Birmingham home.
Officers were sent to the home to serve a misdemeanor warrant, but prosecutors said Woods, who was 27 at the time, set up an ambush that allowed Spencer to shoot at them multiple times. Spencer admitted to shooting the officers, but said it was in self-defense because the officers were assaulting Woods, an assertion that the judge did not permit at trial. Two of the officers who were killed were later accused by another drug dealer at Woods' home of being involved in a corrupt scheme that protected dealers in exchange for money. The surviving officer, Michael Collins, said at the time that he believed Woods helped plan the shooting, but that he didn't actually fire a weapon.
According to him, Woods yelled, «I give up. » In addition, 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 Spencer is on death row after he was convicted of murder, no execution date has been set. Supporters of Woods have said he was the victim of incompetent counsel who failed to conduct an adequate investigation and missed key deadlines for appeals.
Woods could have benefited from a plea deal of 20 to 25 years in prison, but supporters said he was wrongly informed by his own attorneys that he wouldn't be convicted of capital murder because the state needed to prove he pulled the trigger.