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Almost 30 years after he was convicted of murder, a death row inmate has been scheduled for execution this month.
Willie B. Smith has been given his date by The Alabama Supreme Court, for the murder of 22 year-old Sharma Ruth Johnson in 1991. Smith was 22 himself when convicted of the crime, and will now pay the ultimate price for it on 11 February.
The now-51-year-old was one of three people found guilty in relation to the death of Johnson, who died in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Supreme Court of Alabama voted 8-0 in a ruling earlier this week to confirm the date, which comes nine years after Smith unsuccessfully tried to appeal his sentence by arguing he is intellectually disabled.
In 1991, Smith had abducted Johnson at gunpoint by a local bank, after his housemate Angelica Willis approached her while she was sitting in her car to ask for directions.
Smith then pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and pointed it at the woman, forcing her into the boot.
After driving off, Smith returned to the bank because Johnson had dropped her bank card there, after which he forced her tell him the card details before drawing $80 from the ATM.
Smith then picked up his brother, Lorenzo, before those two and Willis drove together to Zion Memorial Cemetery, where Smith decided he had to kill Johnson out of fear that she would go to the police.
The vehicle was abandoned with Johnson's body still in the trunk, before Smith returned the following day to burn the car and destroy any evidence.
A wire tap had recorded Smith describing his victim's final moments before the murder: "She said, no I ain't like that, she said that. I touched her head, I said you're a m***********g liar, boom!"
News of the execution is striking given it will come in the first full month of Joe Biden's Presidency, a leader who deeply opposes the death penalty.
In contrast, the former President Donald Trump drew criticism during the last weeks of his Presidency for - among other things - the increase in executions that were signed off before his departure on 20 January.
During the lame duck period of US leadership after losing an election but before the new incumbent's inauguration, it is tradition that the President will suspend executions.
However, Trump authorised five death row killings in the weeks leading up to the handover of power, to become the most prolific execution President in more than a century, with 13 executions given the go ahead from July of last year, and culminating in five during the period between his election loss and departure from office.
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