From Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Following the execution of the murderer of Sharma Johnson of Trussville, Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall released statements addressing the execution of Willie B. Smith.
Ivey’s statement read; “Sharma Ruth Johnson was abducted at gunpoint, threatened while in the trunk of the car, terrorized, assaulted, and ultimately, Willie B. Smith, III brutally killed her. In that final moment of this young lady’s short life, Mr. Smith, after learning Ms. Johnson was related to a law enforcement officer, made the choice to put a shotgun to her head, stealing this woman’s future.
“Even after these heinous crimes were committed, Mr. Smith made the choice to burn the vehicle to hide his fingerprints. He knew full well he was doing wrong. This was an absolutely horrendous act against Ms. Johnson. It is also an attack on our men and women in blue.
“In dealing with this unimaginable and tragic loss, her loved ones have endured years of Mr. Smith attempting to avoid due punishment and then a delayed execution earlier this year. Mr. Smith had more time on death row than Ms. Johnson had in this life.
“The evidence in this case was overwhelming, and justice has been rightfully served. The carrying out of Mr. Smith’s sentence sends the message that the state of Alabama will not tolerate these murderous acts. I pray that the loved ones of Ms. Johnson can be closer to finding peace.”
Marshall stated; “Justice has been served. Tonight, Willie Smith was put to death for the heinous crime he committed nearly three decades ago: the abduction and execution-style murder of an innocent young woman, Sharma Johnson.
“When a capital murderer is due to receive his just punishment, one always hears accusations of “cruel and unusual punishment,” with that term rarely used in a way that accords with its constitutional meaning—and absolutely never used in reference to the victim’s loved ones.
“The family of Sharma Johnson has had to wait 29 years, 11 months, and 25 days to see the sentence of Sharma’s murderer be carried out. Finally, the cruel and unusual punishment that has been inflicted upon them—a decadeslong denial of justice—has come to an end.
“I ask the people of Alabama to join me in praying for Sharma’s family and friends, that they might now be able to find peace and closure.”