With days to live, a push to spare death row inmate’s life

Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 8:53 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2020 at 8:54 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In just days, a man on death row in connection to the 2004 killing of three Birmingham officers is set to be executed, but some say death is a punishment he doesn’t deserve.

On March 5, Nathaniel Woods is set to die, but community advocates hope if they champion his story his life could be spared.

“What took place was simultaneously a tragedy for three families of police officers, but now another potential tragedy because the system has failed an individual,” said Bart Starr, Jr.

Nathaniel Woods is in prison in connection to the death of officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm, III, and Charles Bennett. They were killed while serving a warrant at a home in Ensley back in 2004. Although Woods was there, the shooter was identified as Kerry Spencer. Advocates stress Woods’ proximity to the crime doesn’t mean he should be on death row. ​

​"Simply being at the wrong place where someone else shows up and then starts firing at police officers is not a reason to assign culpability to someone else," said Starr, Jr.

But his attorney says the case goes even deeper. Through her own research of court documents and interviews, she says she’s found unreliable witness statements and information that should have been presented during Woods’ trial that could have changed the outcome.

​"While it may seem like an 11th hour attempt to get someone off, it’s truly a case of where no one peeled back the curtain to see what’s going on," said Lauren Faraino, Pro Bono Attorney. “No reason for a man to die because his lawyer failed to ask the questions a lawyer should know to ask.”

Advocates say the pain of the loss of the officers is respected and honored, but feel a fight of justice is necessary. ​

​"The system failed him - that’s what cannot stand," said Starr, Jr.

They’re hoping for a stay from the courts or Governor Ivey will intervene. ​His lawyer and community advocates are planning a rally this weekend in Montgomery - details are tentative. For more information visit on Faraino’s work with this case, click here.

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