ATMORE, Alabama – An Alabama inmate convicted of killing a man during a robbery in 1993 when he was a teenager was executed Thursday by lethal injection.
Casey McWhorter, 49, was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m. at a southwest Alabama prison, authorities said. McWhorter was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for his role in the robbery and shooting death of Edward Lee Williams, 34, on February 18, 1993.
Prosecutors said McWhorter, who was three months shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the murder, conspired with two younger teenagers, including Williams’ 15-year-old son, to steal money and other items from Williams’ home and then kill him. .
The jury that convicted McWhorter recommended the death penalty by a vote of 10 to 2, which was imposed by a judge, who had the final decision, according to court records. The youngest teens, Edward Lee Williams Jr. and Daniel Miner, who was 16, were sentenced to life in prison, according to court records.
“It’s a little unfortunate that we’ve had to wait so long for justice to be done, but it’s been done,” the victim’s brother, Bert Williams, told reporters after the execution. He added that lethal injection gave McWhorter a peaceful death unlike the violent end his brother suffered.
Prison officials opened the death chamber curtain at 6:30 p.m. McWhorter, who was strapped to the gurney with IVs already in place, moved slightly at the start of the procedure, rubbing his fingers, but his breathing slowed. It slowed down until it calmed down. it is no longer seen.
“I would like to say that I love my mother and my family,” McWhorter said in his final words. “I would like to apologize to the victim’s family. I hope you find peace.”
McWhorter also used his final words to deliver an apparent verbal swipe at his executioner, the prison warden who faced domestic violence. accusations decades ago, saying that “it is not lost on me that a habitual abuser of women is carrying out this procedure.”
Prosecutors said McWhorter and Miner went to the Williams home with rifles and silencers homemade from a pillow and a jug of milk. When the elder Williams arrived home and discovered the teens, he grabbed the rifle Miner was holding. They began fighting over it and McWhorter fired the first shot at Williams, according to a summary of the crime in court documents. Williams was shot a total of 11 times.
April Williams, the victim’s daughter, said today her father should spend time with his grandchildren and enjoy his retirement.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and how much I miss him,” April Williams said in a statement read by Corrections Commissioner John Q. Hamm. “Casey McWhorter spent several hours in that house to change her mind and not take my dad’s life.”
Defense attorneys had unsuccessfully sought a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, citing McWhorter’s age at the time of the crime. They argued that the death sentence was unconstitutional because Alabama law does not consider a person a legal adult until age 19.
McWhorter, who called himself a “confused kid” at the time of the murder, said he would encourage young people going through difficult times to take a moment before making a life-changing mistake like he did.
“Anything that doesn’t feel right to you at first, take a few seconds to think about it,” he told The Associated Press in an interview last week. “Because one bad choice, one stupid mistake, one foolish decision can alter your life (and the lives of those you care about) forever.” McWhorter maintained that he did not intend to kill Williams. Attorney General Steve Marshall said that while Williams was on the ground injured, McWhorter shot him in the head.
McWhorter spent nearly 30 years on Alabama’s death row, making him one of the longest-serving inmates among the state’s 165 death row inmates.
“Edward Lee Williams’ life was taken at the hands of Casey A. McWhorter, and tonight, Mr. McWhorter answered for his actions,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.
The Rev. Jeff Hood, a death row minister who works with an anti-death penalty group, accompanied McWhorter to the death chamber as his spiritual advisor. “It is not lost on me that he was a murderer and so are all the people of Alabama tonight. I pray that we all learn to stop killing each other,” Hood said in a statement.
The execution in Alabama occurred the same night as Texas executed a man convicted of strangling a 5-year-old girl who was taken from a Walmart store nearly 22 years ago.
McWhorter was the second inmate executed this year in Alabama after the state suspended executions for several months to review procedures following a series of failed or problematic executions. James Barber, 64, was executed by lethal injection in July for the beating death of a woman in 2001.
Alabama plans to make the country’s first attempt to execute an inmate using nitrogen gas. nitrogen hypoxia It has been authorized as a method of execution in Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi, but no state has used it.