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Alabama executes Casey McWhorter for 1993 murder

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Alabama executes Casey McWhorter for 1993 murder

Nov 16, 2023 | 10:26 pm ET
By Ralph Chapoco
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Alabama executes Casey McWhorter for 1993 murder
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Casey McWhorter (Alabama Department of Corrections)

The state of Alabama executed Casey McWhorter Thursday evening for the 1993 murder of Edward Lee Williams.

McWhorter was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m., according to a statement from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. It was the second execution conducted by Alabama this year.

Jeff Hood, McWhorter’s spiritual advisor, said in a phone interview Thursday McWhorter said before his execution that he loved his family and friends and apologized to Williams’ family.

“I am coming home Lord, I am coming home,” McWhorter said just before he died, Hood said.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from McWhorter’s attorneys to stay the execution on Thursday afternoon, without comment.

“Edward Lee Williams’ life was taken away from him at the hands of Casey A. McWhorter, and tonight, Mr. McWhorter answered for his actions,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement Thursday night.

McWhorter was sentenced to death for the February 18, 1993 murder of Williams during a robbery of his home with two teenagers, Daniel Miner and Edward Lee WIlliams Jr., the elder Williams son.

According to court records, McWhorter, then 18, and Daniel Miner, 15 were dropped off a few blocks from Edward’s home by a fourth member that was part of the group. They entered the unlocked home and began gathering different items to steal, believing that Edward would not be home for the next few hours.

Edward returned home and saw Miner. The two then wrestled for control of a firearm that Miner had. Williams was shot 11 times. Both Miner and McWhorter then took Edward’s wallet and left the scene in the victim’s pickup truck.

A jury sentenced McWhorter to death on a 10-2 vote in 1994. Miner and Williams Jr. were each sentenced to life in prison.

Ivey set a window for McWhorter’s execution on Oct. 18, set to begin at midnight Thursday and ending on 6am Friday, after the Alabama Supreme Court granted a motion filed by the Attorney General’s Office in August requesting an order to have him executed.

“Justice is the value we place on the life that was wronged,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a statement on Thursday. “I regret that Mr. Williams’s family had to wait for over three decades for this finality.”

McWhorter’s attorneys had argued that his age at the time of the murder meant that he was denied a jury pool that contained his peers. In Alabama, the legal age of adulthood is 19; McWhorter was 18 at the time of the murder.

McWhorter told the Reflector in an interview last week that he obtained his general education degree and took some college classes. He said he had “pissed away” his opportunity to live a normal life.

“My hope for these interviews is to reach out to people who may be in the same situation I was in, confused and don’t know how to reach out, and don’t know what choices to make,” McWhorter said. “Hopefully, some of my life can be an example of things not to do for them.”

McWhorter spent his final hours with Hood and his mother, Carolyn Rowland.

“He spent probably about an hour just holding her, and then holding each other,” Hood said Thursday night. “Just a lot of tears but a lot of beauty as well.”

From there, Hood and McWhorter talked about his legacy and the memory he wanted to leave with others.

“He kept telling me, ‘I hope I am the last one,’” Hood said of being executed. “I kept telling him, ‘I am going to do my damnedest to make that true.”