MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — The date and time frame have been set for the execution of James Barber, who was tried and convicted of murder in Madison County nearly 20 years ago.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday she has set the time frame for Barber’s execution. The 30-hour time frame is set to occur beginning at midnight on Thursday, July 20 and expire at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 21.
In 2004, a Madison County jury convicted Barber of murdering Dottie Epps and recommended 11-1 he be sentenced to death.
Barber was charged with capital murder because the murder was committed during the course of the robbery or attempted robbery of Epps. Barber would end up confessing to authorities following his arrest.
At the beginning of May, The Supreme Court of Alabama issued a death warrant for Barber, which authorizes the state to carry out his execution sometime after June 2.
This execution will be the first in Alabama since Gov. Ivey paused executions last November to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review. She asked for the ‘effective moratorium’ following the attempted execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith, the state’s second failure to complete a lethal injection in the span of two months and third failed lethal injection since 2018.
During the procedure review, Gov. Ivey requested a change from the Alabama Supreme Court that would extend execution warrants deadlines. On January 13, 2023, the Alabama Supreme Court changed court rules to give Alabama’s governor the power to decide how long the state’s executioners can attempt to end an inmate’s life.
Following the review, Ivey announced in February the state would move forward with executing death row inmates.
Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard, who was an assistant district attorney at the time of Barber’s trial and prosecuted the case, explained to News 19 there was never a doubt that Barber was responsible for Epps’ death.
Barber had been hired by Epps to do some handy work around her home in Harvest, Alabama. There was no sign of forced entry at the scene.
“An investigation turned him up,” Broussard said. “The crime scene had physical evidence, namely there was a bloody palm print that was there. The investigators started looking into who had been around. They, they took that palm print, and he had been arrested before, they matched the prints so they knew they had the right guy.”
Broussard also told News 19 that the death penalty has a distinct purpose.
“Whether or not it’s an efficient process shouldn’t be a deterrent from seeking a punishment that is just.”