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USA | States Continue to Oppose DNA Testing in Death Penalty Appeals, Attorneys Ask Why Don’t They Want to Learn the Truth?

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The last 3 men scheduled for execution in Georgia said they did not commit the killing and that DNA testing that was not available at the time of trial could prove it. In 2 of the cases, victim family members supported the request for testing. Prosecutors opposed the requests, and the courts refused to allow the testing. 2 of the 3 men were executed, with doubts still swirling as to their guilt.
Shawn Nolan, a federal defender who represented Georgia prisoner Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, summed up the sentiments of the prisoners, families, and defense attorneys in these cases. “I’d like to know what the state is so scared of,” he said. “Why are they afraid of the truth? This is sad and so disturbing.”
“We have the capability of testing a wide range of forensic evidence that we couldn’t test in the past,” said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham. “It is a powerful tool to get to the truth and to get important answers as to whether the criminal legal system has b…

Alabama | Nathaniel Woods to be executed on March 5

Nathaniel Woods
Nathaniel Woods is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm local time on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. 

44-year-old Nathaniel was sentenced to death for his part in the murder of three Birmingham police officers: 58-year-old Carlos Owen, 40-year-old Harley Chisholm III, and 33-year-old Charles Robert Bennett. 

Nathaniel has spent the last 14 years on death row in Alabama.

Nathaniel was spent most of his life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he went to high school.

On June 17, 2004, Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley A. Chisholm III, Charles R. Bennett and Michael Collins were serving an arrest warrant on Nathaniel Woods at an apartment in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Woods had been spotted and identified earlier by the police at that location. The arrest warrant was for assault.

RELATED Execution set in 2004 murders of 3 Birmingham police officers

A man outside the apartment before the attempted arrest told the police that he wanted no part of what was going to take place. Officers Owen and Collins went to the rear door, while Officers Chisholm and Bennett approached the front door. 

Woods approached the rear door, which still had its screen door shut. Officer Owen informed Woods of the outstanding warrant. Woods responded in a derogatory manner, claiming there was no warrant.

Officer Chisholm came to the back door and showed Woods the warrant with his photo. Woods denied being the man in photo, threatened the officers and taunted them to come and get him, before retreating further inside the apartment. 

Officer Chisholm opened the screen door to enter the apartment, followed by Officers Owen and Collins. 

The officers attempted to take Woods into custody and Officer Collins heard Woods say, “Don’t spray me with that mace.” 

Around the same time, Officer Collins heard a radio transmission from Officer Bennet saying, “They are coming out the front.”

Officer Collins was leaving the apartment through the back door to go assist Officer Bennet out front, when he heard gunfire from inside the apartment. 

After a few seconds, Officer Collins issued a radio broadcast: “Shots fired. Double aught. Officer down.” Officer Collins took cover behind his patrol car, and saw a male, later determined to be Kerry Spencer shooting a rifle.

As the officers were attempting to arrest Woods, Spencer appeared with the rifle and began shooting. 

Officers Owen and Chisholm were shot multiple times. Woods told Spencer about the officer out front, Bennett, and Spencer shot him multiple times. 

Spencer and Woods then fled to a friend’s house nearby, where they were overheard talking about the shooting and not appearing upset over it.

The police mounted a massive manhunt to capture Spencer and Woods, who were arrested later that day. 

Officers Owen, Chisholm, and Bennet died from their injuries. Officer Collins received minor physical injuries.

According to testimony presented at Woods’ trial, the apartment in which officers were attempting to arrest Woods, was known drug house, usually having 100-150 customers a day. 

Several weapons were discovered laying around inside the apartment.

Spencer and Woods were both charged with murder and sentenced to death.

Source: theforgivenessfoundation.org, Staff, February 13, 2020


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