Alabama inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. was executed Thursday night for killing his former girlfriend, despite pleas from the victim’s family to spare his life, the Associated Press reports. James, 50, was sentenced to death after fatally shooting 26-year-old Faith Hall, in Birmingham in 1994. According to prosecutors, James and Hall briefly dated, but Hall eventually rejected him. James became obsessive and began stalking and harassing her for months before killing her. On Aug. 15, 1994, Hall was returning to a friend’s apartment after they went shopping together. James forced his way into the apartment and shot Hall three times.
Hall’s children were 3 and 6 when their mother died. They wanted James to serve life in prison, rather than be executed. They did not attend the execution. Hall’s family said they had forgiven James, and hoped that states would listen to the wishes of victims’ families in the future. The execution began at around 9 p.m. after being delayed for three hours. Throughout the procedure, James had his eyes closed and did not speak. James had fought his death sentence, mailing lawsuits and appeals to courts. He argued he was not given adequate notice to choose an alternative execution method. He accused Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey of violating religious freedom for not listening to the wishes of the victim’s family, due to the importance of forgiveness in the Bible and the Quran. The state argued that James should not be rewarded for his attempt to “game the system.”