Tuesday, January 22, 2008

August 23, 2007

...The victim was a veteran of the Omaha Beach landing during World War II...

Last Meal: Williams had a final meal request of hot dogs, a garden salad with French dressing, and orange juice.

The skinny: Williams was executed for shooting a World War Two veteran to death during a 1988 robbery.

More skinny: The victim was on his way home from work and stopped his vehicle, a red 1984 Chevrolet pickup truck with a camper, because of mechanical problems.

Williams and two men were traveling south in a vehicle stolen the day before. They stopped and confronted the man, leading him to a nearby wooded area and shot him once in the left side of the head with a .22 caliber pistol which had been in the trunk of the stolen vehicle.

The victim’s body was left at the site of the shooting, and his money and vehicle were taken.

Later that same morning, several witnesses identified Williams as the driver of a red ‘camper truck’ which was parked at the Smithfield housing project. The gun used in the shooting was recovered from his girlfriend's home where Williams was arrested.

The then-28-year-old Williams was on the run from a prison work release program.

The victim was a veteran of the Omaha Beach landing during World War II.

The two men who were with Williams when they stopped to rob the man pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Trosky Eric Gregory, now 43, is incarcerated at Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore. Albert Charmichael Jr., now 45, was paroled in 2004.

The last week: William's post-conviction attorney, Joel Sogol, and a law student visited him Monday.

On Tuesday, he was moved to a larger, isolated cell. He spent much of his time writing a couple of letters, watching television and talking with officers, said Brian Corbett, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections. Corbett did not know whom the letters were for. No visitors came Tuesday, but on Wednesday he met his youngest son for the first time.

Koreen Bush, 18, and his foster parents came. Father and son talked for the first time two weeks ago. To his son, Williams left all his possessions: a 13-inch black-and-white television, one box of legal paper and a check for all that remained in his prison account, $38.97.

His last day began with a breakfast of grits, eggs, biscuit, prunes, two cartons of milk and sausage and gravy. For lunch, he requested a Coca-Cola and a hamburger from the vending machine. Soft drinks are somewhat of a luxury since the kitchen does not serve them.

Leading up to: Williams has said in appeals to his conviction that he was passed out drunk in the back seat of the car while the other men shot the veteran.

Williams' attorneys and Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty said his mental status was never thoroughly evaluated, noting that Williams, who had been arrested 15 times before his murder conviction, lagged years behind his age group in school.

Alabama Gov. Riley issued a statement on Thursday rejecting their request.

Then the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny a stay of execution.

Last words and such: Williams spoke through the glass partition in the execution chamber separating him from two members of the victim's family, who came to witness his death, and proclaimed his innocence. “They told the other two guys to put it on me. I think it’s wrong. I swear to God I did not kill him." After blaming prosecutors and law enforcement, he called out his original defense attorney, "You provided no defense. I didn’t have no defense, and that’s why I’m here.” Williams went on to say he was never going to give up the other two men. “My name is Luther Jerome Williams. I ain’t no black, little rat,” he said.

Factoids: Williams was the...

36th murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1093rd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Alabama in 2007
38th murderer executed in Alabama since 1976

Williams wished to be cremated, and a couple in Rhode Island accepted the body. They will pay for the cremation, and give his remains to Koreen Bush.