HIGH-profile figures including Kim Kardashian have hit out at the decision to execute ‘cop-killer’ Nathaniel Woods after another man confessed to the murder.
The 43-year-old Alabama inmate was put to death by lethal injection at 9pm on Thursday, after a stay of execution by the Supreme Court was lifted.
Kardashian slammed the execution as "a tragic example of injustice in the system".
"Nate will die for a crime another man confessed to and says Nate had nothing to do with,” the mother-of-four tweeted.
“My heart and prayers are with Nate and his family and all the advocates who worked tirelessly to save his life. RIP Nathaniel Woods.”
Woods had no last words as he prepared to be put to death in the state prison at Atmore, but appeared to arrange his hands in a sign of his Islamic faith.
Martin Luther King III, human rights advocate and the oldest living child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, also shared his fury.
“In the case of Nathaniel Woods, the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Governor of the State of Alabama are reprehensible, and have potentially contributed to an irreversible injustice,” King said.
“It makes a mockery of justice and constitutional guarantees to a fair trial.”
Democratic Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the chorus of condemnation.
“Abolish the death penalty,” she tweeted along with a link to a story about the case.
Police officers Carlos Owen, 58, Harley A. Chisolm, 40, and 33-year-old Charles R. Bennett died while trying to serve a domestic assault warrant on Woods at a drug house in Birmingham in June 2004.
At his trial the following year, the prosecution said Woods was the bait who lured officers deeper in the apartment and had bragged about the murders, including in song lyrics and art.
The trial heard Woods told Owen and Chisholm he was surrendering, but after they entered Kerry Spencer opened fire with a high-powered rifle.
Prosecutors said Woods “conspired” with Spencer and charged him as an accomplice – under Alabama law this made him legally accountable.
There was no evidence he possessed a gun during the incident.
Spencer, who is himself on death row, has confessed to the killings and had called for Woods' execution to be halted.
Before the execution, Spencer told CNN by phone from William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, "Nate is absolutely innocent. That man didn't know I was going to shoot anybody just like I didn't know I was going to shoot anybody that day, period."
Family members of the slain officers gave statements to the media after the execution.
Greg Owen, the son of officer Owen, said father was also a grandfather who only wanted to protect people in the city where he grew up.
“Instead of going home that day, he was ambushed, murdered and died on the floor of a filthy drug house," Greg Owen wrote.
In recent years Kardashian has campaigning against what she sees as miscarriages of justice and has lobbied Donald Trump directly.
She recently visited the White House with three women recently freed from prison – Crystal Munoz, Judith Negron and Tynice Hall- whose sentences were cut short by the President.
The women were jailed for drug-related and white collar crimes, and all had young children when imprisoned.
It follows her campaign that helped to free former sex slave Cyntoia Brown who served 12 years in prison for killing a man who paid her for sex when she was just 16 years old.
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