Nathanial Woods (age 44) was sentenced to death in 2005 following an incident that left three Alabama cops dead. It all took place at Woods’s residence in 2004, where he was being served a warrant. His roommate, Kerry Spencer, allegedly opened fire, killing the three cops. Woods and Spencer were both found guilty on capital murder charges.
This case garnered a lot of media attention recently because Woods has been claiming his innocence for years. Spencer admitted to being the sole shooter, and there was no evidence of conspiracy to kill between the roommates. The execution decision was also made by a judge after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision. There was some hope for him in his final hours to get a temporary stay—he even stopped eating his final meal—but, ultimately, he was killed at 9:01pm last night.
At the heart of this issue is the topic of plea deals. 97% of criminal cases in the U.S. are determined by pleas as opposed to conviction at trial. During an attempt to appeal his conviction, Wood claims that his lawyer misinformed him about capital murder for accomplices and that the lawyer convinced him to reject a plea deal, which would have given him 20-25 years. So he could have been out in five years and that would have been the end of it. The only reason he was killed is because his case was taken to trial.