Alabama’s first execution of 2020 comes with lots of controversy

Nathaniel Woods is on Alabama's death row and set to be executed Thursday for the 2004 deaths...
Nathaniel Woods is on Alabama's death row and set to be executed Thursday for the 2004 deaths of three Birmingham police officers.(Source: Alabama Department of Corrections)
Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 6:15 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The man who sat on Alabama’s “death row” for 15 years but didn’t pull the trigger in the 2004 fatal officer-involved shootings in Birmingham was put to death Thursday night.

Nathaniel Woods became Alabama’s first execution of 2020. That, despite last minute efforts to save his life, even a Supreme Court stay in his case.

Woods’ life is over, but the controversy from his case continues.

Our partners with CNN interviewed cop-killer Kerry Spencer hours before his co-defendant, Nathaniel Woods, was executed.

“You are saying you are totally responsible for the murder of those police officers,” asked CNN anchor Martin Savidge.

“Yes, I am. I’m the only one that shot anybody that day,” said Spencer.

“And Nathaniel Woods is completely innocent you say,” asked Savidge.

“Absolutely. He didn't know I was going to shoot anybody. I mean, I put this on my life, on my children's lives. I mean, like I swear to God. I didn't know I was going to do this s***, so how would Nate know? I mean this was a spur of the moment decision. We had no time to think about what the f*** was going to happen that day,” said Spencer over the phone.

Woods and Spencer were convicted for the June 2004 murders of three Birmingham police officers. Both were sentenced to death. But Spencer, the sole gunman, is still biding his time on death row.

Woods died Thursday moments after the clock struck 9 p.m. About an hour later, family members of the slain officers spoke to the media.

“Partial justice has been served today for our families. One cop killer down as we patiently wait for the next one,” said Starr Sidelinker.

“This will never ever bring closure and it certainly won't bring Rob, Carlos or Harley back,” said Susan Bennett.

But Woods death comes with an outcry. Supporters including Martin Luther King III and Kim Kardashian argued executing Woods was unjust.

His family agreeing. They said the state of Alabama acted too fast.

“The fact that the world reached out and saw and read the facts about this case. The world has a heart,” said Wood’s daughter Jasmine Walters.

Woods is the second person since 1983 who has been executed for being an accomplice to capital murder.

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