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Disabled man executed for kidnapping woman and murdering her in cemetery

He had been on death row after he was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a woman in Birmingham, Alabama. At an Alabama prison he was executed by lethal injection on Thursday night

Smith has spent the last 30 years on death row after he was convicted of the murder of Sharma Ruth Johnson in 1991

Willie B. Smith III, an intellectually disabled man, jailed for the 1991 murder of a police detective’s sister, has been executed.

He had been on death row after he was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a woman in Birmingham, Alabama.

He abducted Sharma Ruth Johnson at gunpoint before going on to murder her.

At an Alabama, US prison he was executed by lethal injection on Thursday night.

Governor Kay Ivey was reported to have released a statement after the execution.

She said: Sharma Ruth Johnson was abducted at gunpoint, threatened while in the trunk of the car, terrorized, assaulted, and ultimately, Willie B. Smith, III brutally killed her. In that final moment of this young lady’s short life, Mr. Smith, after learning Ms. Johnson was related to a law enforcement officer, made the choice to put a shotgun to her head, stealing this woman’s future.







“Even after these heinous crimes were committed, Mr. Smith made the choice to burn the vehicle to hide his fingerprints. He knew full well he was doing wrong. This was an absolutely horrendous act against Ms. Johnson. It is also an attack on our men and women in blue.

“In dealing with this unimaginable and tragic loss, her loved ones have endured years of Mr. Smith attempting to avoid due punishment and then a delayed execution earlier this year. Mr. Smith had more time on death row than Ms. Johnson had in this life.

“The evidence in this case was overwhelming, and justice has been rightfully served. The carrying out of Mr. Smith’s sentence sends the message that the state of Alabama will not tolerate these murderous acts. I pray that the loved ones of Ms. Johnson can be closer to finding peace.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall added: “Finally, the cruel and unusual punishment that has been inflicted upon them—a decades long denial of justice—has come to an end.”


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