An Alabama Prisoner Set To Die From Wrongful Accusations


Christian Edwards

Nathaniel Woods, 44, is set to die at 6 p.m. Thursday evening from lethal injection, who is also the first person scheduled to be executed in Alabama this year.

Family members claim that he wasn’t the one to fire the shots and kill three Birmingham police officers in 2004 at a drug house.

“All he’s ever wanted is for people to look back and see what happened in the courtroom and the facts stated during the case,” said Nathaniel Woods sister.

Activists and family members tried to reach out to Governor Kay Ivey to intervene and give the man a fair trial. 

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Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin Luther King Jr., added that Woods’ execution would only show that “Alabama seems to have forgotten about the civil rights movement of 1960 that focused on justice and respect for human rights and their past actions.”

As attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement that this is a last-minute movement to stop the inevitable punishment of a cop-killer.

However, Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization is saying that Wood’s case deserves a recheck because of “alleged police misconduct, incompetent representation, and Alabama law allowing death verdicts based on non-unanimous jury votes.”

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Prosecutors claimed that both Woods and Spencer were involved in the sale of crack cocaine from their Birmingham home at Woods trial in 2005. Woods, who was 27, had set up an ambush with Spencer that allowed him to kill police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III, and Charles Bennett. And a fourth officer was shot but survived the ordeal. The officers were there to serve a misdemeanor warrant.

Spencer admitted he shot the victims, but only out of self-defense. He claims the officers were assaulting Woods. The judge did not allow that statement to be made during the defense.

Court documents point out that Owen and Chisholm had “a reputation for corruption and violence” and that they collected money from local drug dealers in the community in exchange for protection.  The defense claimed the officers arrived  that day looking a drug dealer called Tryan Cooper who wasn’t paying his weekly protection fee. A

“Probably, if I was there none of this would’ve happened.” said Cooper who feels as if he’s the cause of the problem.

Cooper refused to testify for the defense at  Woods and Spencer’s trails. 

While prosecutors claim Woods is anti-police and wasn’t the triggerman, he still threatened police officer Owen to take off his badge according to the court appeal records. As the laws in Alabama state, “Being an Accomplice in a murder, even if a person didn’t fire a weapon, can also result in a Death Sentence.”

The jury arrived at a verdict, 10-2,  in favor of the death penalty from multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.