Alabama inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. was executed Thursday night for the 1994 murder of Faith Hall Smith, the state’s top attorney said, despite pleas from the victim’s family not to do so.
According to CNN, Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a news release, “Justice has been served. Joe James was put to death for the heinous act he committed nearly three decades ago: the cold-blooded murder of an innocent young mother, Faith Hall.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also released a statement, “Tonight, a fair and lawful sentence was carried out, and an unmistakable message was sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence.”
Joe Nathan James Jr. killed his girlfriend, 26-year-old girlfriend Faith Smith in 1994. He reportedly followed her to a friend’s home and fatally shot her three times. In 1996, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
James’ time of death was 9:27 p.m. local time Thursday and he was executed by lethal injection, according to a news release from the state’s corrections department.
Terrlyn Hall, Smith’s daughter, told WBMA earlier this week that the family hoped James would be sentenced to life in prison without parole rather than having him put to death.
“She was a loving, forgiving person,” Hall said to the news station. “I’m quite sure if she was here today, or if she were in this situation, she would want to forgive. We don’t think (execution) is called for because it won’t bring her back.”
Helvetius Hall, Smith’s brother, also pushed for life in prison rather than capital punishment.
On Tuesday, a motion to stay his execution was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.