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January execution date for Alabama man convicted in slaying

MGN Online

Alabama has set a January execution date for an inmate convicted of the 1996 shotgun slaying of a man who towed his car after it broke down.

Posted: Nov 19, 2021 9:04 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has set a January execution date for an inmate convicted in the 1996 shotgun killing of a man who towed his car after it broke down.

The Alabama Supreme Court on Thursday set a Jan. 27 lethal injection date for Matthew Reeves, 43. Reeves was sentenced to death for the Nov. 27, 1996. murder of Willie Johnson in Dallas County, Alabama.

In earlier court filings, Reeves' attorneys have argued he has an IQ in the 60s and that his trial counsel failed to do enough to show he is intellectually disabled and should therefore be spared a death sentence.

The U.S. Supreme Court in July reversed an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finding and said that a state court had correctly rejected claims that Reeves had ineffective counsel at trial because they did not hire a neuropsychologist to present evidence he is intellectually disabled. The decision was issued as an unsigned 6-3 opinion.

Prosecutors said on the day of the slaying that Reeves, then 18, had gone with friends looking for people to rob, but their car broke down. Johnson came by in his pickup truck and offered to give them a ride and tow their car to Reeves’ house. Prosecutors said Reeves, who was riding in the bed of the truck, stuck a shotgun through the rear window of the cab and fatally shot Johnson in the neck.

“In payment for this act of kindness, Reeves murdered Johnson, stole his money, and mocked his dying spasms,” justices wrote in the majority opinion in July.

The trial judge sentenced Reeves to death on the recommendation of the jury.

Defense lawyers at Reeves' trial had funds to hire a neuropsychologist, Dr. John Goff, but ultimately did not do so.

At a hearing on his postconviction appeal in state court, Goff testified he believed Reeves was intellectually disabled and that Reeves' IQ score should be adjusted down into the 60s.

A state expert disputed that and pointed to the money that Reeves made from dealing drugs.

Lawyers for Reeves have argued that because of his intellectual difficulties that the state should have given him help with a form allowing inmates to select execution by nitrogen hypoxia. An Alabama inmate put to death last month had raised similar claims.

Reeves' has a pending lawsuit in connection with the matter.

“Once again, the State of Alabama is attempting to execute an individual with a previously pending lawsuit instead of allowing the Federal court to consider his case in the normal course. Important issues of how the state treats cognitively disabled prisoners should not be decided in a rush solely because the state chooses to short circuit that process,” Reeves' attorney, John Palombi, wrote in an email.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848498

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164292005
Mobile743961384
Madison53544738
Shelby38446371
Baldwin38207589
Tuscaloosa36168644
Montgomery34570782
Lee25677264
Calhoun22632520
Morgan22540411
Etowah20074520
Marshall18859318
Houston17790426
St. Clair16963359
Limestone16200220
Cullman16164306
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15080307
Talladega14265302
DeKalb13093271
Walker12170380
Blount10782193
Autauga10561157
Jackson10217196
Coffee9439192
Colbert9374210
Dale9045192
Tallapoosa7286202
Russell710865
Chilton7097170
Covington6972197
Escambia6968144
Franklin6366108
Chambers5804142
Marion5445132
Dallas5303210
Pike5132109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4799110
Geneva4655136
Bibb436295
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph337967
Pickens335090
Fayette332185
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319489
Crenshaw261778
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253069
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130745
Choctaw94628
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