An Alabama man with an IQ estimated to be in the range of 64 to 75 is set to be executed Thursday evening, pending intervention by the state. Willie B. Smith III, 52, will be given a lethal injection for the 1991 abduction and murder of Sharma Ruth Johnson. The 22-year-old victim, a police officer’s sister, was kidnapped in front of an ATM and taken to a cemetery, where prosecutors said Smith shot her in the back of the head.
This is Smith’s second execution date this year. In February, the state delayed his sentence at the eleventh hour after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled he could not be put to death without his pastor by his side, as he’d requested. Smith’s pastor will be present in the death chamber Thursday. Despite his projected IQ, courts have ruled that Smith is not intellectually disabled and therefore eligible for the death penalty. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one member of the media—an AP reporter—will be allowed to witness the execution.