The person sentenced to death receives a suspension of punishment yet executed a few hours later

The American state of Alabama has executed 43-year-old Nathaniel Woods. This happened a few hours after the US Supreme Court suspended the execution of the death penalty. That delay came half an hour before the man was initially executed. The Court again wanted to look at all the circumstances of the case. A few hours later, the Court rejected the last appeal against the death penalty, and the execution was still carried out.

Woods was found guilty by a jury in 2005 of being involved in shooting three police officers in 2004 who wanted to arrest him and a partner in an apartment for drug trafficking. The judge imposed the death penalty on him.

There have been many protests against the conviction, including from Martin Luther King III, the son of the murdered pastor Martin Luther King. Woods was not the one who fired the fatal shots. The person who did shoot stated that “Nate did not shoot. He didn’t even have a gun.”

In Alabama, however, a special law applies whereby a suspect can be convicted of someone else’s actions. Pamela Woods, sister of the convict, addressed the press at the Alabama prison earlier in the day. She read a transcript from the court case for that. Woods was to receive a deadly injection on Thursday at 6 p.m. local time, but the procedure was temporarily stopped when Woods’ defense insisted on a delay.

The US Supreme Court decided to review that request and, therefore, temporarily suspended the execution. However, the application was still rejected, so that the state of Alabama proceeded to execute the same evening.

 Pamela Woods, sister of Nathaniel, addresses the press at the prison in Atmore, Alabama. (05/03/2020).
©AP – Pamela Woods, sister of Nathaniel, addresses the press at the prison in Atmore, Alabama. (05/03/2020).

Woods was one of the two convicts in the case. The second man is still awaiting execution of his death penalty. The death penalty is currently legal in 29 of the US states.

Downward trend

Since 1977, 1,516 criminals sentenced to death have been executed in the United States, of which 66 in Alabama. However, the trend is decreasing. According to figures from The Death Penalty Information Center, between 70 and 100 convicts were executed every year at the end of the last century. In 2009 there were 52, and in the previous three years, the number of executions was between 22 and 25.

ANP, Death Penalty Information Center, CNN
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