Joe Nathan James Jr executed in Alabama despite plea for clemency from his murder victim Faith Hall’s family

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Joe Nathan James Jr received a lethal injection at a south Alabama prison (Alabama Department of Correction)
Joe Nathan James Jr received a lethal injection at a south Alabama prison (Alabama Department of Correction)

A prisoner convicted of killing his former girlfriend decades ago has been executed in the US despite pleas from the victim's family to spare his life.

Joe Nathan James Jr received a lethal injection at a south Alabama prison after the US supreme court denied his request for a stay of execution.

James, 50, was convicted and sentenced to death over the 1994 shooting death of Faith Hall, 26, in the city of Birmingham in the state.

James briefly dated Hall and he became obsessed after she rejected him, stalking and harassing her for months before killing her.

On August 15 1994, after Ms Hall had been out shopping with a friend, James forced his way inside the friend's apartment, pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Ms Hall three times, according to court documents.

Ms Hall's two daughters, who were three and six when their mother was killed, said they had “forgiven” James and wanted him to serve life in prison instead of being executed.

But Alabama governor Kay Ivey let the execution go ahead saying the execution sent an “unmistakable message was sent that Alabama stands with victims of domestic violence”.

"Today is a tragic day for our family. We are having to relive the hurt that this caused us many years ago,"a statement for Ms Hall’s family issued through state representative Juandalynn Givan's office read. Ms Givan was a friend of Ms Hall's.

"We hoped the state wouldn't take a life simply because a life was taken and we have forgiven Mr Joe Nathan James Jr for his atrocities toward our family, “it said.

"We pray that God allows us to find healing after today and that one day our criminal justice system will listen to the cries of families like ours even if it goes against what the state wishes."

Ms Ivey said she always deeply considers the feelings of the victim's family and loved ones, but "must always fulfil our responsibility to the law, to public safety and to justice".

She added: "Faith Hall, the victim of repetitive harassment, serious threats and ultimately, cold-blooded murder, was taken from this earth far too soon at the hands of Joe Nathan James, Jr.

"Now, after two convictions, a unanimous jury decision and nearly three decades on death row, Mr James has been executed for capital murder, and justice has been served for Faith Hall."Officials said James was pronounced dead at 9.27pm on Thursday after the start of the procedure was delayed by nearly three hours.

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