Alabama cancels execution after court requires pastor
February 12, 2021 7:46AM AKST
By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press
ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate has won a reprieve from a scheduled lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court said the state could not proceed without his pastor in the death chamber. The lethal injection of Willie B. Smith III was called off Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court maintained an injunction. The state prison system said the execution would not proceed given the ruling. Alabama has maintained that non-prison staff should not be in the room for security reasons. The 51-year-old Smith was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in Birmingham.