Alabama Set to Execute First Inmate Since Start of COVID-19 Pandemic
The state announced its plans to carry out the first execution of an inmate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Willie B. Smith is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Thursday for the fatally shooting Sharma Ruth Johnson with a shotgun. Johnson was abducted, robbed and killed in Birmingham in 1991. He was sentenced to death in 1992.
U.S. District Judge Austin Huffaker, Jr. on Tuesday denied Smith’s lawyers request for a stay. Attorneys for the 51-year-old Smith have sought a stay arguing that the pandemic and the prohibition on in-person prison visits have made it hard to adequately represent him.