UPDATE: Alabama Executes Man Convicted of 1996 Dallas County Murder
The state of Alabama has executed Matthew Reeves for a 1996 Dallas County murder after a divided U.S. Supreme Court sided with the state, clearing the way for him to get a lethal injection.
Thursday night, the nation’s highest court rejected claims by the 43-year-old Reeves that he had an intellectual disability which cost him a chance to choose a still-untried execution method called nitrogen hypoxia.
The Supreme Court lifted a lower court order that had previously blocked execution plans.
Reeves was convicted of killing Willie Johnson with a shotgun inside a pickup truck during a robbery. Johnson had given Reeves a ride. Evidence showed he celebrated the killing at a party afterward with blood stains still on his hands.
Reeves was convicted in 1998. He was executed at Holman Prison in Atmore at 9:24 p.m.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall released this statement:
“In November 1996, Matthew Reeves committed an act of cold-blooded evil, brutally murdering a good Samaritan who stopped to offer Reeves and his friends assistance after their vehicle broke down and stranded them on the side of the road. In return for Willie Johnson’s act of kindness-offering Reeves and his friends a ride and a tow to their destination-Reeves shot Johnson in the neck with a shotgun, stole $360 from Johnson’s body, and mocked Johnson’s last moments.
There can be no doubt that a jury of his peers correctly convicted Reeves of capital murder, for which he was sentenced to death. While I regret that it has taken 24 years for Reeves to finally receive his just punishment, tonight justice has finally been served.
I ask the people of Alabama to join me in praying for Willie Johnson’s family and friends, that they might now be able to find peace and closure.”
Gov. Kay Ivey released this statement:
“The day before Thanksgiving 1996, Willie Johnson, Jr., a good Samaritan lending a helping hand, was brutally murdered by Matthew Reeves. The evidence in this case is clear, Mr. Reeves’ sentence is fair, and tonight, justice was rightfully served. Over 20 years after the cold-blooded murder, Mr. Reeves remains guilty, and his lack of remorse is unchanged. I pray that the Johnson family can finally receive closure.”
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)