MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Alabama is scheduled to execute Thursday night a man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend nearly three decades ago, despite a plea from the victim’s family to spare his life.
Joe Nathan James Jr. is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at a southern Alabama jail at 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. ET). James was sentenced to death in the 1994 shooting of Faith Hall, 26, in Birmingham. Hall’s daughters have said they would prefer James to serve life in prison. But Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday she plans to go ahead with the execution.
Prosecutors said James briefly dated Hall and became obsessed after she rejected him, stalking and harassing her for months before he killed her. On August 15, 1994, after Hall was shopping with a friend, James broke into the friend’s apartment, pulled a gun from his waistband, and shot Hall three times, according to court records.
A Jefferson County jury first convicted James of capital murder in 1996 and voted to recommend the death penalty, which a judge imposed. The conviction was overturned when a state appeals court ruled that a judge had mistakenly admitted some police reports as evidence.
James was tried again in 1999 and sentenced to death again when the jury rejected the defense’s claim that he was under emotional distress at the time of the shooting.
Hall’s two daughters, who were 3 and 6 when their mother was killed, had recently said they would rather have James in prison for life.
“I just feel like we can’t play God. We can’t take life. And it’s not going to bring my mother back,” one of the daughters, Terryln Hall, said in a recent phone interview with The Associated Press.
“We’ve thought about it and prayed about it, and we’ve found it within ourselves to forgive him for what he’s done. We really wish we could do something about it,” Hall had said, adding that the road to forgiveness is long.
“I hated him. I did. And I know hate is such a strong emotional word, but I really had hate in my heart. As I got older and realized you can’t walk around with hate in your heart. you still have to live And once I had my own kids, you know, I can’t pass it down to my kids and let them walk around with hate in their hearts,” she said.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall had urged Ivey to proceed with the execution, writing that “it is our duty to ensure that justice is done for the people of Alabama.”
“The jury in James’ case unanimously ruled that his brutal murder of Faith Hall warranted a death sentence,” Marshall said.
In response to a reporter’s question Wednesday, Ivey said she would not intervene.
“My staff and I have researched all records and all facts and there is no reason to change the procedure or the outcome. The execution is continuing,” she said.
James has acted as his own attorney to stop his execution, sending handwritten complaints and appeal writs from death row to the courts. An attorney on his behalf filed the latest appeal in the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.
James asked the judges for a stay, noting opposition from Hall’s family and arguing that Alabama had failed to adequately inform inmates of their right to choose an alternative method of execution.
He argued that after the legislature approved nitrogen hypoxia as the new method of execution, Alabama officials gave inmates only a short window of opportunity to select the new method, and the inmates were unaware of what was at stake when they were given no explanation a selection form was given. Alabama does not schedule executions for inmates who have selected nitrogen. The state has not developed a system for using nitrogen to carry out death sentences.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alabama-execution-set-opposition-victims-children-rcna40388 Executed in Alabama despite opposition from victim’s children