|BLACK-ON-WHITE: Black beast convicted in 1991 slaying of (pretty young White) Trussville woman gets new execution date of Oct. 21, 2021|
MONTGOMERY — The man convicted in the 1991 kidnapping and murder of a Trussville woman narrowly escaped being put to death in February of this year. But despite an ongoing court battle, he now has a new execution date.
Willie B. Smith III was to be put to death on Feb. 11, 2021, in the death of Sharma Ruth Johnson. The U.S. Supreme Court stopped the execution last minute after attorneys for Smith requested for him to have his pastor with him in the death chamber. The state has now set a new execution date of Oct. 21, 2021, although he has a trial to determine if he is mentally capable enough to be executed, set for 2022.
Johnson was only 22-years old when she was abducted from an ATM off Parkway East after being set up by Smith, who was also 22 at the time, and a 17-year-old girl. That teen, Angelica Willis, was originally charged with capital murder as well but testified against Smith as part of a plea deal. Willis said Smith directed her to ask Johnson for directions to a fast-food restaurant on the night of Oct. 26, 1991. The two had no relationship with the victim and simply picked her to be the victim in the random crime.
When Willis asked Johnson where Krystal’s Hamburgers was located, Johnson said she did not know. At that time, Smith approached the car with a sawed-off shotgun and demanded Johnson get in the trunk of the car. The two suspects then got in the car, with Smith driving and Willis in the passenger’s seat, drove to the Huffman area, then back to the ATM where they withdrew the remaining $80 from the victim’s account. Video from the bank was used to track down the suspects. It showed the incident at the ATM happened around 1:25 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2021.
The suspects then drove to Huffman to pick up Willis’ brother. Angelica Willis testified that once her brother learned the woman was in the trunk, he taunted her. The three then drove to Zion Memorial Cemetery, where Smith shot Johnson, execution-style. Willis said before the shooting she and her brother tried to tell Smith he didn’t have to kill her. She said Smith told Johnson, “I’m going to have to kill you” because he thought she would call the police. He then shot her in the head. A secret recording of Smith explaining to his friend what happened was later played in court.
“She said, no I’m not [going to tell the police], I promise,” Smith said in the recording while mimicking a female voice. “I said, ‘you a liar!’ Boom! then shot her in the head with that gun.’ Smith told his friend he had to shoot Johnson because her brother was a police officer.
After the shooting, the three drove the victim’s car, with her dead body in the trunk, to Roebuck. Willis testified that Smith went back later and torched the vehicle. Willis was given a 25-year sentence in exchange for her testimony. She was released from Tutwiler Prison after serving all 25 years and has graduated from Hope Inspired Ministries, a faith-based non-profit that provides training for employment.
Smith was originally sentenced to death by the electric chair, in 1992, but that has been changed to death by lethal injection. Smith’s attorneys claimed in 2013 that the state gave their client antipsychotic drugs during his trial, rendering him unable to show emotion. In 2019, they appealed the death sentence, saying he only has an IQ of 70. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the execution to move forward but his attorneys are continuing to fight the execution, which is now scheduled for next month.
A classmate of the victim said she remembers Johnson as quiet and kind. “I’ve known her since seventh grade,” said Shelley Luna. “She was one of the sweetest people you would ever meet. Just very humble.”
Luna said Johnson was working as a manager at TCBY in Trussville at the time of her death. She still remembers where she was and how she felt when she heard about Johnson’s death on the news. “For a long time, I wouldn’t go outside by myself at night, because of her death,” Luna remembered. Sharma Ruth Johnson is now resting in peace at Jefferson Memorial Gardens, in Trussville.
Alabama sets new execution date for (retarded evil black) inmate for 1991 murder
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama has rescheduled the execution of a state inmate who had a lethal injection called off in February when the U.S. Supreme Court sided with his request to have his personal pastor with him in the death chamber. The Alabama Supreme Court set an Oct. 21 execution date for 51-year-old Willie B. Smith III, who was convicted of the 1991 kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in Birmingham.
In February, the state called off Smith's execution on the night he was to have been put to death. The decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court maintained a lower court injunction, saying he could not be executed without his personal spiritual advisor present in the room with him. The state at the time maintained only prison staff would be allowed in the room. Alabama officials wrote in a court filing that the state recognized "its policy restricting access to the execution chamber to institutional chaplains was unlikely to survive further litigation" and “reached an agreement with Smith to allow his spiritual advisor to minister to him in the chamber.” The Alabama Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to an email asking about the change in procedures.
Prosecutors said Smith abducted Johnson at gunpoint from an ATM, stole $80 from her and then took her to a cemetery where he shot her in the back of the head. The victim was the sister of a police detective. “The murder of Ms. Johnson, which was committed during the course of a robbery and kidnapping, was as brutal as they come, and there is no doubt that Smith committed those offenses,” lawyers with the attorney general’s office wrote in the request to set the execution date.
The Alabama Supreme Court set an October execution date for Smith even though a judge has scheduled a 2022 trial on claims related to his "intellectual capacity". His lawyers have argued the state failed to give Smith, who has an IQ below 75, required assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act in filling out forms that affected the timing of his execution.
“We are disappointed that the attorney general asked for and the Alabama Supreme Court set a date for Mr. Smith’s execution despite the fact that a lawsuit he filed two years ago is progressing through discovery and is set for trial early next year," federal defender John Palombi wrote in an email. Palombi added, “The state is attempting to moot this lawsuit out before his case can be heard. We will continue to fight against this premature attempt to execute Mr. Smith." The Alabama attorney general’s office has disputed that Smith’s rights were violated.