Sister of executed Alabama man holds protest in Youngstown

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Michelle Vines, of Youngstown, organized a peaceful protest on the streets of downtown Youngstown Friday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The sister of a man put to death in the shooting deaths of three Alabama police officers says she will not give up trying to clear his name.

Michelle Vines, of Youngstown, organized a peaceful protest on the streets of downtown Youngstown Friday. Her brother, Nathaniel Woods, was executed in March after his appeals ran out.

Nathaniel Woods

Vines insists her brother was innocent of the crimes and is pushing for officials in Alabama to review the transcripts from his trial.

“My brother is innocent, and we’re looking for clemency and exoneration even after his passing. We won’t stop until we get it,” Vines said.

Nathaniel Woods was convicted as an accomplice in the 2004 shootings of four Birmingham police officers, three of whom died. Even though prosecutors admitted at the time he never pulled the trigger, the convicted shooter, Kerry Spencer, now sits on Alabama’s death row.

“He confessed to shooting, and he also confessed that my brother had no clue, no knowledge and played no part,” Vines said.

Although few in number, the demonstrators made themselves heard. The group walked around downtown chanting Woods’ name and that he was murdered. They also carried signs bearing picutes of others they believe were wrongly prosecuted.

“A lot of these men and women on this board was treated very unfairly and many, many more before that. I think this needs to stop,” said Robert Greene, a demonstrator from Youngstown.

In this time of heightened awareness of civil rights, the group hopes its message hits home.

“We know that all lives matter, but we want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want acknowledged,” said Mildred Davis, a demonstrator from Youngstown.

Woods’ family has reached out to Alabama’s governor for clemency but has not heard if he’ll take up their case.

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