An Alabama man was executed on Thursday (March 5) hours after the Supreme Court temporarily halted the execution. Nathaniel Woods maintained his innocence since being convicted in the 2004 murders of three Birmingham police officers.
Woods, 44, was touted as an accomplice in the triple murder. The triggerman, Kerry Spencer, who was also Woods’ roommate at the time of the fatal shooting, attests that Woods is “100% innocent.”
According to NBC News, Spencer and Woods were accused of selling drugs out of their residence. On the day of the shooting, four officers arrived to serve a warrant to Woods and Spencer. Prosecutors claim Woods set the cops up so that Spencer could carry out the murders. Three of the four officers were killed, the surviving officer confirmed that Woods didn’t pull the trigger, but due to a technicality in Alabama law, Woods received the death penalty along with Spencer, who remains on death row with no execution date.
A petition calling for Woods’ to be exonerated sites witness and evidence tampering among the factors proving his innocence. According to the petition, which has received more than 100,000 signatures, Woods rejected a plea deal that would have put him in prison for 20-25 years. Woods turned down the deal because his lawyers “incorrectly” told him that “he could not be convicted let alone executed since there was no evidence of a plan to kill or of Nate being in any way responsible for the shooting,” the petition reads.
The case went to trial and Woods was sentenced to death in a 10-2 jury vote (Alabama law stipulates that the vote doesn’t have to be unanimous).
“Nathaniel Woods is 100% innocent,” Spencer wrote in a letter defending Woods. “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.”