Alabama Execution of Matthew Reeves Stayed Before January 27, 2022

Matthew Reeves, Alabama

Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Middle District Court of Alabama has refused a request by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to lift the stay of execution for Matthew Reeves.

Updated: Monday, January 17, 2022

Matthew ReevesMatthew Reeves was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, January 27, 2022, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama.  His execution is stayed. Forty-four-year-old Mathew is convicted of murdering 38-year-old Willie Johnson on November 27, 1996, in Selma, Alabama. Matthew has spent the last 23 years on Alabama’s death row.

Matthew did not have a stable childhood. He had little structure in the home and little supervision. Before his arrest, Matthew worked in construction.

Matthew Reeves and his younger brother Julius visited Brenda Suttles at her house in Selma on November 27, 1996. Brenda’s 15-year-old cousin, Emanuel was also there. Shortly after noon, all four agreed to go out looking for some people to rob. While out, they saw Jason Powell driving his car and convinced Jason to give them a ride to the neighboring town of White Hall. The group planned to rob a drug dealer. Before leaving Selma, Julius retrieved a shotgun and gave it to Matthew.

Between Selma and White Hall, Jason’s car broke down. Eventually, Willie Johnson drove by and agreed to tow Jason’s car back to Selma. Julius rode with Willie in his vehicle, while the others were in Jason’s truck. Upon arriving back in Selma, Julius exited the car and told the others Willie wanted $25 for towing.

Julius claimed he could give Willie a ring as payment, if Willie would take him to his girlfriend’s house to retrieve it. Willie agreed and began unhooking Jason’s car from his. During this time, Julius told the others Willie would be their robbery victim.

Julius again rode in the cab of the truck with Willie, while the others rode in the bed of the truck. Matthew waited until Willie was in the driver’s seat before hopping into the back of the truck with the shotgun. The group retrieved the ring and returned to where they had unhooked Jason’s truck. After turning into an alley, Matthew stuck the shotgun through the rear open window in the truck and shot Willie in the neck. After shooting Willie, Matthew told the others to steal his money.

Matthew, Julius, and Brenda attempted to hide the gun and their bloodstained clothing before returning to their friends. They stole approximately $360 from Willie, who died from his gunshot wound. Throughout that evening, Matthew repeatedly bragged about killing a man.

Willie’s body was discovered the following day, and a blood trail led police to the weapons and bloodstained clothing. Matthew was arrested later that day. Julius and Brenda were also eventually arrested. Julius, Brenda, and the others with them that all testified against Matthew. Matthew was sentenced to death. Julius was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Brenda was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole.

U.S. District Court Judge Austin Huffaker ordered Matthew’s execution be stayed.  Judge Huffaker ruled that Matthew was likely to succeed on his claims that his intellectual disability was not accommodated when the Alabama Department of Corrections gave him a form asking him to choose whether he wanted to die by hydrogen gas or another method.  Lawyers for Matthew allege that due to his low IQ, Matthew could not understand for the form to complete it. The Alabama Attorney General’s office is appealing the ruling.

Pray for peace and healing for the family of Willie. Pray for strength for the family of Matthew. Please pray that if Matthew is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented before his execution. Pray that Matthew may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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