AP NEWS

Execution set for man in slayings of 3 police officers

January 31, 2020 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man convicted of killing three police officers in 2004 is set to be executed next month, state judges ordered.

Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to be executed by injection on March 5 at a south Alabama prison, the court said Thursday. Woods and co-defendant Kerry Spencer were convicted of capital murder for the 2004 killings of Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisolm III and Charles R. Bennett. Spencer was also sentenced to death for the killings.

Prosecutors said the officers were gunned down in an ambush as they tried to serve a misdemeanor warrant on Woods at a home where he and Spencer sold crack cocaine.

“By the time help arrived, the other three officers were dead. Officer Bennett was discovered with a smoking hole in his face, and Officers Owen and Chisolm were found in the apartment. Each had died from multiple gunshot wounds,” the Alabama attorney general’office in a request to schedule the execution date.

According to newspaper reports, prosecutors said at the 2005 trial that Woods helped set an ambush for the officers even though Spencer was the trigger man, but defense lawyer maintained Spencer was responsible for the killings even though Woods had boasted about them.

A jury convicted Woods of multiple counts of capital murder and of the attempted murder of another officer. A jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence.

State attorneys said that while Woods was awaiting trial, deputies found a drawing of a bullet-ridden police car in his cell and song lyrics about killing such as, “Haven’t you ever heard of a killa I drop pigs like Kerry Spencer.”

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down his appeal last year. Attorneys for Woods unsuccessfully appealed his conviction, arguing that he had ineffective counsel and that the trial had multiple errors, including the admission of the song lyrics and drawings in his cell.

His attorneys filed a new challenge last week related to what they said was a lack of information given to inmates when they had to select if nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method authorized but not yet implemented by the state, would be their preferred execution method. Woods did not make a selection.