Alabama Inmate Executed Despite Wish from Victim’s Family to Spare Him

Death Penalty Alabama

Joe Nathan James Jr. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press

An Alabama inmate convicted of killing his former girlfriend in Birmingham decades ago was executed Thursday night despite pleas from the victim’s family to spare his life.

Joe Nathan James Jr. received a lethal injection at Holman prison in Atmore after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a stay. Officials said he was was pronounced dead at 9:27 p.m. after the start of execution was delayed by nearly three hours.

James, 50, was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1994 shooting death of Faith Hall, 26. Hall’s daughters have said they would rather James serve life in prison, but Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday that she planned to let the execution proceed.

Prosecutors said James briefly dated Hall and he became obsessed after she rejected him, stalking and harassing her for months before killing her. On Aug. 15, 1994, after Hall had been out shopping with a friend, James forced his way inside the friend’s apartment, pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Hall three times, according to court documents.

Hall’s two daughters, who were 3 and 6 when their mother was killed, said they wanted James to serve life in prison instead of being executed.

“Today is a tragic day for our family. We are having to relive the hurt that this caused us many years ago,” the statement issued through state Rep. Juandalynn Givan’s office read. Givan was a friend of Hall’s.

“We hoped the state wouldn’t take a life simply because a life was taken and we have forgiven Mr. Joe Nathan James Jr. for his atrocities toward our family. … We pray that God allows us to find healing after today and that one day our criminal justice system will listen to the cries of families like ours even if it goes against what the state wishes,” the family’s statement read.

Ivey said Thursday that she always deeply considers the feelings of the victim’s family and loved ones, but “must always fulfill our responsibility to the law, to public safety and to justice.”

“Faith Hall, the victim of repetitive harassment, serious threats and ultimately, cold-blooded murder, was taken from this earth far too soon at the hands of Joe Nathan James, Jr. Now, after two convictions, a unanimous jury decision and nearly three decades on death row, Mr. James has been executed for capital murder, and justice has been served for Faith Hall.

She said the execution sends an,” unmistakable message was sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence.”

Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm, responding to a question about why the execution was delayed, said the state is, ”very deliberate in our process in making sure everything goes according to plan.” He did not elaborate. Hamm also said James, who showed no movements at any point, was not sedated.

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Categories: Crime, News, Statewide