SHAUN KING: An innocent man is scheduled to be lynched today in Alabama

Today, in just a few hours, the State of Alabama is scheduled to lynch an innocent Black man named Nate Woods. The state knows he didn’t kill anyone. Police and prosecutors know he didn’t kill anyone. The Governor and Attorney General of Alabama know he didn’t kill anyone. The jury and judge knew he didn’t kill anyone, but here we are, moments away from a modern day legal lynching. It’s the single, most brutal, grizzly act of injustice I’ve seen in my entire life.

One man, and one man alone, is guilty of the crimes Nate Woods was later convicted of. His name is Kerry Maguire Spencer. Here is Kerry, who is also on death row, in his own words:

My name is Kerry Maguire Spencer, and I’m writing in regards to the March 5th, 2020, execution date set for Nathaniel Woods. Nathaniel Woods is 100% innocent. I know this to be a fact because I’m the person that shot and killed all three of the officers that Nathaniel was subsequently charged and convicted of murdering. Nathaniel Woods doesn’t even deserve to be incarcerated, let alone executed. I’ve confessed to shooting all three of the officers in question, both when I was first interrogated and also on the stand at my trial. But yet and still, Nathaniel was charged, tried and convicted unjustly! I pray that my words don’t fall on blind eyes or deaf ears. Don’t allow another innocent man [to] be executed if you can do something to put a stop to it. This is my most fervent prayer.


Kerry M Spencer

When Kerry Spencer was convicted of killing three police officers in 2004, police and prosecutors knew that he was the lone gunman in the shooting. He admitted to as much on the stand and not a single person, to this day, has said otherwise. That Nate Woods, no matter how heinous the crime was that Kerry Spencer committed, could be held responsible alongside Kerry, even though he literally didn’t even break a single law that day, is not just outrageous — it’s a sign that this horrible system was never built for with freedom, fairness, or justice for Black people in mind.

When I decided to come on board this case, I knew that because three white police officers had been killed, nearly nobody else would even attempt to support Nate, no matter how clear the evidence was to exonerate him. We are basically being told that Nate’s Black life doesn’t matter because the State of Alabama needs to teach Black people a lesson — that if you are even anywhere near a white police officer killed, you’ll pay the ultimate price.

While we like to think that the epidemic of lynching that plagued the United States in the early 1900s has basically ended, it hasn’t. It’s just shapeshifted and has taken on a new form. Instead of hanging Black folk from trees, we are now shot by police in the streets or killed by the many machines of mass incarceration. It’s still lynching nonetheless.

Nate Woods is innocent.

Please go now to and take all of the steps you can to try to stop this execution.