Death penalty

A group of people gathered in a tabernacle.

Jefferson County DA uncertain new trial for Toforest Johnson could go forward

BY: - December 4, 2023

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr Sunday reiterated his belief that death row inmate Toforest Johnson deserves a new trial. Speaking to more than 100 people at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Birmingham, Carr went through his concerns with the conviction of Johnson of the 1995 murder of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy William Hardy, killed while […]

A defocused police car sits behind crime scene tape with flashing lights at night.

If Alabama wants to support crime victims, it should start by listening to us

BY: - December 1, 2023

My little brother Arthur Sturdivant, Jr. died by homicide on June 8, 2021. I was there when he went, lying in the street in Selma. Police arrested the man who shot him, but the ambulance arrived too late. Arthur was 21 years old. I was 25. Arthur left behind a family who loved him, including […]

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 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 […]

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

Alabama’s experiment with death

BY: - September 4, 2023

Alabama will soon attempt to suffocate a death row inmate.  It could be several months away. Maybe longer. And it’s never been done to a human being before. But despite that — and despite Alabama’s record of incompetence in carrying out executions — it’s almost certain the state will get to try the new execution […]

A group of people gathered on steps holding signs opposing the death penalty.

His mother was murdered. He wants Louisiana to spare her killer’s life.

BY: - August 16, 2023

In 1996, Shareef Cousin was 16. While his peers worried about prom and house chores, he was worried about being executed for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent three years as the youngest person on Louisiana’s death row before being freed. Cousin doesn’t say he was wrongfully convicted — he says he was framed. […]

A man in glasses and a white shirt

James Edward Barber executed for 2001 murder of Dorothy Epps

BY: - July 21, 2023

The state of Alabama Thursday executed James Edward Barber Friday morning for the 2001 murder of Dorothy Epps of Harvest.  The execution, the first completed by DOC in nearly a year and after a string of botched attempts, began at 1:34 a.m., about an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Barber’s final appeal.  Lee […]

A man in glasses and a white shirt

Federal court rejects Alabama death row inmate’s appeal

BY: - July 20, 2023

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday rejected an appeal from Alabama death row inmate James Edward Barber, scheduled to be executed on Thursday.  Barber, convicted for the 2001 murder of Dorothy Epps, argued the Alabama Department of Corrections’ string of botched executions last year meant that lethal injection could […]

Bars in a prison. A staircase can be seen behind them.

Bill stopping parole for people charged with new crime makes it through committee

BY: - April 7, 2023

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill to prohibit prison inmates who face criminal charges from becoming eligible for parole. HB 131, sponsored by Rep. Wes Kitchens, R-Arab, would forbid parole consideration for any incarcerated person charged with a new federal, state, or local crime with a prison sentence of at least six […]

The American flag behind a chain link fence

Alabama’s faith in death isn’t what crime victims need

BY: - March 6, 2023

State officials justified the end of Alabama’s brief execution moratorium with appeals about solace for the families of victims.  “Far too many Alabama families have waited for far too long — often for decades — to obtain justice for the loss of a loved one and to obtain closure for themselves,” Gov. Kay Ivey wrote […]

A jury box filled with brown leather chairs.

Alabama death sentences would require unanimous jury votes under bill

BY: - March 1, 2023

A Democratic legislator has introduced a bill that would require unanimous jury votes to impose the death penalty. Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa has filed a bill that would require a unanimous jury vote to sentence a defendant to capital punishment. Alabama law currently allows the death penalty to be imposed if 10 of 12 jurors […]

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at a brown lectern with the seal of the governor's office on the front. Ivey wears a white suit.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s open records order shows the awful state of Alabama’s public information law

BY: - February 13, 2023

Last year I got myself several cashier’s checks, all written out to the Alabama Department of Corrections. The background: At the Montgomery Advertiser, we wanted to know what happened during the first of three botched executions in the state. To get that process started, you have to pay a cover. It’s not a charge for […]