Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco covers state politics as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. His main responsibility is the criminal justice system in Alabama.

Alabama executes Casey McWhorter for 1993 murder

By: - November 16, 2023

The state of Alabama executed Casey McWhorter Thursday evening for the 1993 murder of Edward Lee Williams. McWhorter was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m., according to a statement from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. It was the second execution conducted by Alabama this year. Jeff Hood, McWhorter’s spiritual advisor, said in a phone interview Thursday […]

A three story prison dorm with aluminum siding and outside stairs rises behind a barbed wire fence. A guard tower can be seen in the background.

Death penalty critics raise questions about inmate’s pending execution

By: - November 16, 2023

Before his scheduled execution on Thursday, Casey McWhorter is left to grapple with how his life has played out. On Feb. 19, 1993, McWhorter, then 18, and two other teenagers, aged 15 and 16, decided to rob the Albertville home of Edward Lee Williams. One of the teenagers, Lee Williams, was Edward’s son. McWhorter said […]

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Governor’s study group recommends agency mergers, improved state employee benefits

By: - November 9, 2023

A study group convened by the governor Wednesday recommended increased pay, expanded benefits and changes to retirement plans to better recruit and retain state employees. The Governor’s Study Group on Efficiency in State Government also recommended the mergers of some state agencies, including the Department of Senior Services with the Department of Human Resources (DHR). […]

A headshot of an inmate.

Gov. Kay Ivey sets January date for nitrogen execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith

By: - November 8, 2023

Gov. Kay Ivey Wednesday set a January execution date for Kenneth Eugene Smith, convicted of the 1988 murder-for-hire of Elizabeth Sennett. Ivey set an execution window starting at midnight on Jan. 25, 2024 and running until 6 am on January 26, 2024. It could be the first execution carried out through nitrogen suffocation, a method […]

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Phenix City holds prayer event after death of Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland

By: - November 8, 2023

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call, text or chat the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. For a list of Crisis Centers in Alabama, visit the Alabama Department of Mental Health’s website. For help with grief and loss, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers advice and resources. PHENIX CITY – Residents gathered for […]

Commission considers center to provide resources for caregiver grandparents

By: - November 7, 2023

A state commission is considering recommending the creation of centers that provide resources for grandparents who care for their grandchildren. Keith Lowhorne, vice-president of Kinship for the Alabama Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, suggested the idea during a Tuesday meeting of the Joint Interim Study Commission on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, touting it as one avenue […]

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Alabama’s broadband grant program leaves some poor, underserved counties behind

By: - November 7, 2023

Carly Waite, a nursing student at Coastal Alabama Community College in Washington County, is taking her foundational classes on her way to eventually becoming a registered nurse. She enjoys the flexibility of enrolling in online classes, which allows her to work and take care of her two children. But internet access is critical for her […]

A hand holds a cell door with a white sign saying "Please secure gate."

Alabama death row inmate Casey McWhorter seeks delay of pending execution

By: - November 7, 2023

Attorneys for an Alabama death row inmate scheduled to face execution a week from Thursday have filed a series of appeals with the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys for Casey McWhorter, convicted of capital murder in 1994 for the murder of Edward Lee Williams in 1993, argue that the Nov. 16 […]

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Alabama senator criticizes Board of Pharmacy lobbyist contract

By: - November 2, 2023

Members of the Legislative Contract Review Committee Thursday criticized the Alabama Board of Pharmacy for hiring a private lobbyist. The board has hired the Montgomery-based Southern Group as a legislative consultant. The contract is worth $160,000 and runs through September 2025. “I will have a piece of legislation coming up here in February that says […]

Silver letter on the brick says "300 Dexter Avenue. Supreme Court of Alabama. Court of Criminal Appeals. Court of Civil Appeals. State Law Library. Administrative Office of Courts."

Alabama Supreme Court gives go ahead for execution by nitrogen hypoxia

By: - November 2, 2023

Alabama is one step closer to becoming the first state to execute someone by nitrogen hypoxia. In a 6-2 decision handed down Wednesday, the Alabama Supreme Court allowed the state to proceed with the execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, convicted of the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Sennett, under that method. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall […]

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Prefiled bill would extend abilities of Alabama land banks

By: - November 2, 2023

A bill filed for the Alabama Legislature’s 2024 session would give land banks more flexibility in acquiring properties and allow cities and counties to create joint land bank authorities for economic development. SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, said in an interview Wednesday that the bill would allow land bank authorities to acquire […]

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Experts: Training, transportation and child care shortages straining Alabama workforce

By: - October 31, 2023

If Alabama’s workforce participation rates are low, it’s due to a lack of training, transportation and child care, experts told an Alabama House committee on Monday. “The bulk of it, I think, is what we are here for today, and that is, ‘well, I don’t have a consistent transportation to get to work,’” said Ed […]