June 9, 1997 |
After 16 years of proclaiming his innocence, a former Ku Klux Klansman confessed to killing a black teenager, according to a minister who met with the death row inmate before he was executed. The Rev. Bob Smith mentioned the confession at Henry Francis Hays' funeral. Hays, 42, was executed in Alabama's electric chair early Friday for the 1981 slaying. Smith said Hays offered a tearful 40-minute account of 19-year-old Michael Donald's abduction, beating and strangulation.
June 6, 1997 |
Gov. Fob James refused to block the execution in Atmore, Ala., early today of Henry Francis Hays, a member of the Ku Klux Klan who killed a 19-year-old black man in a case that ultimately bankrupted the United Klans of America, the klan faction that had incited the crime. Hays, 42, was convicted in the 1981 slaying of Michael Donald, who was abducted from a Mobile street. Prosecutors said the random slaying was ordered by klan leaders "to show klan strength in Alabama."
May 27, 1989 |
A man who killed a widow and stole her Christmas presents was executed in Alabama's electric chair early Friday as inmates in nearby cells protested and one yelled: "Murderers, murderers." Michael Lindsey, 28, was pronounced dead by two doctors at Holman Prison near Atmore. The execution was the fourth in Alabama and the 111th in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume use of the death penalty in 1976. Lindsey was sentenced to death for the 1981 stabbing and shooting death of Rosemary Zimlich Rutland, 64, of Mobile.
January 16, 1999 |
In one of his final acts in office, Gov. Forrest "Fob" James Jr. commuted the death sentence of a woman convicted of killing a 13-year-old girl who was injected with drain cleaner, shot and thrown into a canyon. James gave no reason for commuting 34-year-old Judith Ann Neelley's sentence to life in prison. Neelley was convicted of the 1982 sex-torture killing of Lisa Ann Millican.
August 29, 1987 |
Three convicted killers went quietly to their deaths Friday while a fourth received a last-minute stay on the busiest day for the death penalty since the Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions in 1976, officials said. Wayne Eugene Ritter, 33, convicted in the murder of a pawnbroker, died in Alabama's electric chair. Pierre Dale Selby, 34, convicted in the "hi-fi" torture-murders of three people and the maiming of two others, was executed by lethal injection in Utah.
February 23, 2000 |
The Supreme Court on a 5-4 vote cleared the way Tuesday for the electrocution of an Alabama murderer, despite his lawyer's claim that this "antiquated" method of execution is both horribly cruel and now unusual. Alabama is one of only three states that still uses the electric chair, and it soon may stand alone. Most states, including California, use lethal injections to carry out the death penalty. Georgia and Nebraska also still rely on the electric chair.