Wednesday Jun 29, 2022
Wednesday Jun 29, 2022

Man executed for 1996 killing after Supreme Court clears way


Nepalnews
2022 Jan 28, 11:03,
This undated file photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Matthew Reeves. Late Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the state of Alabama to execute Reeves, an inmate who contended that an intellectual disability combined with the state’s inattention cost him a chance to avoid lethal injection and choose a new method. Reeves was condemned for killing a man during a robbery in 1996. Photo: AP

Alabama executed an inmate by lethal injection for a 1996 murder on Thursday after a divided US Supreme Court sided with the state and rejected defense claims the man had an intellectual disability that cost him a chance to choose a less “torturous,” yet untried, execution method.

Matthew Reeves, 43, was put to death at Holman Prison after the court lifted a lower court order that had prevented corrections workers from executing the prisoner. He was pronounced dead at 9:24 p.m. CST, state Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement.

Reeves was convicted of killing Willie Johnson Jr., a driver who gave him a ride in 1996. Evidence showed Reeves went to a party afterward and celebrated the killing.

The inmate had no last words. After craning his neck to look around a few times, Reeves grimaced and looked at his left arm toward an intravenous line. With his eyes closed and mouth slightly agape, Reeves’ abdomen moved repeatedly before he grew still.

Gov. Kay Ivey, in a statement, said Johnson was “a good Samaritan lending a helping hand” who was brutally murdered. Reeves’ death sentence “is fair, and tonight, justice was rightfully served,” she added.

The sun sets behind Holman Prison in Atmore, Ala., on Thursday, Jan., 27, 2022, as the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether to allow the execution of death row inmate Matthew Reeves, convicted of killing a man during a robbery in 1996.  Photo: AP
The sun sets behind Holman Prison in Atmore, Ala., on Thursday, Jan., 27, 2022, as the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether to allow the execution of death row inmate Matthew Reeves, convicted of killing a man during a robbery in 1996. Photo: AP

Prison officials said some of Johnson’s family witnessed the execution. In a written statement, they said: “After 26 years justice (has) finally been served. Our family can now have some closure.”

Reeves was convicted of capital murder for the slaying of Johnson, who died from a shotgun blast to the neck during a robbery in Selma on Nov. 27, 1996. He was killed after picking up Reeves and others on the side of a rural highway.

After the dying man was robbed of $360, Reeves, then 18, went to a party where he danced and mimicked Johnson’s death convulsions, authorities said. A witness said Reeves’ hands were still stained with blood at the celebration, a court ruling said.

While courts have upheld Reeves’ conviction, the last-minute fight by his lawyers seeking to stop the execution involved his intellect, his rights under federal disability law and how the state planned to kill him.

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Supreme Court Alabama US Global Matthew Reeves US Supreme Court
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