BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The state of Alabama has set an execution date for Joe Nathan James, Jr., a 49-year-old man, for the 1994 murder of a woman in Birmingham.
On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a death warrant for James, setting his execution for July 28, just three days after the his 50th birthday, according to Leale McCall with the court clerk’s office.
If his execution proceeds, James will be the second person executed in Alabama in 2022. In January, the State of Alabama executed Matthew Reeves, an intellectually disabled Black man, for the 1996 murder of Willie Johnson in Dallas County.
According to records, James has represented himself in recent court filings. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have the right to represent themselves in court, but such a move is rare, especially in death penalty cases.
The court’s decision to set an execution date for James comes as Alabama moves closer to finalizing a protocol for execution by nitrogen suffocation, a method approved by the state legislature in 2018 as access to lethal injection drugs becomes more difficult.
James was convicted for the murder of Faith Hall in Birmingham in 1999. Court records show James had previously been in a relationship with Hall. On the day of her murder, James accused Hall of infidelity, forced himself into an apartment where she was, and shot her twice with a pistol, killing her.
James’ first conviction was overturned by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, which ruled that inadmissible hearsay evidence had been introduced in his trial. James was tried again and was convicted and sentenced, once more, to death.
Alabama Department of Corrections records show that James has now served 24 years, six months, and 27 days for his crime as of June 13.