Martin Luther King III Urges Alabama Governor to Stop Execution of Nathaniel Woods

"Are you willing to allow a potentially innocent man to be executed?”
Like his father, Martin Luther King III has dedicated his life to civil rights and humanitarian causes. (Contributed photo)

Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., is calling on Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to stop Thursday’s execution of Nathaniel Woods.

What We Know:

  • According to a report from ABC News, Woods was convicted of capital murder in the 2004 killings of three Birmingham, Alabama police officers. He has long said he was not the person responsible for shooting the officers and that he received poor representation during his 2005 trial.
  • Officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III, and Charles Bennett were shot and killed on June 17, 2004, while serving a misdemeanor assault warrant for Woods in Birmingham at what was believed to have been a crack house.
  • Kerry Spencer, Wood’s alleged accomplice, confessed to being the sole gunman who killed the police. Both men were convicted on capital murder charges in the end.
  • “In just 2 days, your state, and the state I was born in, is set to kill a man who is very likely innocent,” King wrote in a letter sent to Ivey on Tuesday. “Killing this African American man, whose case appears to have been strongly mishandled by the courts, could produce an irreversible injustice. Are you willing to allow a potentially innocent man to be executed?”
  • King went on to remind Ivey of his father’s prescient words that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He joins over 70,000 people who signed a petition on to halt Woods’ execution.
  • In another portion of the letter, King wrote that Ivey has declined to discuss the case with him in person or over the phone. Gina Maiola, the governor’s press secretary, told ABC News yesterday that Ivey’s office has not yet released a statement on Woods’ case.

Woods has sought to appeal his conviction, saying his previous counsel also convinced him not to accept a plea deal that would have given him a sentence of 20 to 25 years in prison. The Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Woods’ appeal.



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Javier Garay is an Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.