Alabama death sentence carried out despite opposition from victim’s family: NPR

This Alabama Department of Corrections photo shows inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. Trellen Hall’s family opposes Alabama’s plan to execute the man convicted of killing their mother.

Alabama Department of Corrections/AP


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Alabama Department of Corrections/AP


This Alabama Department of Corrections photo shows inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. Trellen Hall’s family opposes Alabama’s plan to execute the man convicted of killing their mother.

Alabama Department of Corrections/AP

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama is scheduled to execute a man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend nearly three decades ago Thursday evening, despite pleas from the victim’s family to spare his life.

Joe Nathan James Jr. is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at a South Alabama prison at 6 p.m. CDT. James was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1994 shooting death of 26-year-old Faith Hall in Birmingham. Hull’s daughters have said they would rather James serve life in prison. But Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday she plans to allow the execution to go ahead.

Prosecutors said James briefly dated Hall and after she rejected him, he became obsessed and stalked her for months before killing her. On Aug. 15, 1994, after Hall had gone shopping with a friend, James forced his way into the friend’s apartment, pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Hall three times, according to court documents.

A Jefferson County jury first convicted James of capital murder in 1996 and voted to recommend the death penalty, which the judge imposed. That conviction was overturned when a state appeals court ruled that a judge had wrongly admitted some police reports into evidence. James was retried and sentenced to death again in 1999, when a jury rejected defense claims that he was under emotional duress at the time of the shooting.

Hall’s two daughters, who were 3 and 6 when their mother was killed, recently said they would rather James spend life in prison.

“I just feel like we can’t play God. We can’t take a life. And it’s not going to bring my mom back,” one of the daughters, Trellen Hall, told The Associated Press in a recent phone interview.

“We thought about it and prayed about it and found it in ourselves to forgive him for what he did. We really wish we could have done something to prevent it,” Hall said. .

“I hated him. I did. And I know hate is a strong emotional word, but I really had hate in my heart. When I got older and realized, you can’t walk around with hate in your heart. You still have to live And when I had kids myself, I can’t pass that on to my kids and have them walk around with hate in their hearts.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall urged Ivey to allow the execution to proceed, writing, “It is our duty to ensure that justice is served for the people of Alabama.”

“The jury in the James case unanimously decided that his brutal murder at Faith Hall warranted the death penalty,” Marshall said.

Asked by a reporter on Wednesday, Ivey said he would not intervene.

“My staff and I have reviewed all the records and all the facts and there is no reason to change the procedure or change the outcome. The execution will continue,” he said.

James has acted as his own lawyer in an effort to avoid his execution, sending handwritten legal filings and notices of appeal to the courts against the death sentence. A lawyer filed a final appeal on his behalf with the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

James asked the justices for a stay, citing Hall’s family’s opposition and arguing that Alabama did not adequately inform inmates of their right to choose an alternative method of execution.

He argued that Alabama officials, after lawmakers approved nitrogen hypoxia as a new method of execution, gave inmates only a brief window to choose the new method, and that inmates did not know what was at stake when they were given the choice form without explanation. Is. Alabama does not schedule executions for inmates who have chosen nitrogen. The state has not established a system for using nitrogen to carry out death sentences.

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