Willie Smith, Alabama

 

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2021

Willie B. Smith, III, is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm local time on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. Fifty-one-year-old Willie is convicted of the robbery, kidnapping, and murder of 22-year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in October 1991. Willie has been on death row in Alabama for the last 28 years.

Willie grew up with an allegedly abusive father and with no economical advantages. Willie did not excel in school. Willie did not have a previous history of criminal activity.

In October 1991, 17-year-old Angelica Willis was living with Willie Smith. The two left the apartment around midnight on October 26, 1991, looking for Smith’s brother, who was going to Pizza Hut. As they were walking, Willis and Smith saw Sharma Ruth Johnson sitting in car at an automatic teller machine.

Smith told Willis to go up to the woman ask for directions to a nearby restaurant. While Sharma was saying she did not know the location of the restaurant, Smith approached with a gun drawn. Smith stuck the gun in the window and demanded Sharma get out of the vehicle. Sharma complied and was placed in the trunk of her vehicle.

They drove around before returning the bank machine, retrieving Sharma’s bank card, and forcing her to reveal her PIN and how much money was in the account. Smith withdrew approximately $80.00 from the machine. The transaction was timestamped for Sunday, October 27, 1991, 1:25 am, and also photographed by the machine.

 

Smith continued driving with Sharma in the trunk, stopping at a few stores and eventually locating Smith’s brother. Upon learning of the woman in the trunk, Smith’s brother begins taunting her and making sexual remarks. Smith decided he would have to kill the woman he kidnapped, fearing she would call the police. Willis claimed she opposed killing the woman. Smith opened the trunk and shot Sharma with a shotgun. The trio drive north and eventually abandon the car. The following day Smith tells Willis he returned to the vehicle and burned it.

 

Smith told a few people about the murder, including a police informant, who agreed to wear a body mike to talk with Smith. During the conversation, Smith made several incriminating statements, including remembering the name of the victim and describing the details of the murder, including how he killed her.

 

Angelica Willis was convicted for her part in the murder of Sharma and agreed to a plea deal resulting in a 25 year sentence. Willie Smith was convicted and sentenced to death.

 

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

 

 

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