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Alabama court authorizes death penalty for killer of a delivery driver


The Alabama Supreme Court has authorized the execution of a man convicted of killing a delivery driver who stopped at an ATM. Justices granted the Alabama attorney general's request to authorize an execution date for Keith Edmund Gavin. Governor Kay Ivey will set the day of the execution, which will be carried out by lethal injection.

Gavin was convicted of capital murder for the 1998 shooting death of William Clinton Clayton, Jr. in Cherokee County. Prosecutors said Clayton, a delivery driver, stopped at an ATM in downtown Centre for money to take his wife to dinner. A jury voted 10-2 in favor of the death penalty for Gavin. The trial court accepted the jury's recommendation.

Gavin's attorney had asked the court not to authorize the execution, arguing the state was moving Gavin to the "front of the line" ahead of other inmates who had exhausted their appeals.

Gavin’s death sentence comes days after Jeremy WIlliams of Phenix City was given four death sentences for kidnapping, rape and murder of 5-year-old Georgia girl. Russell County Circuit Court Judge David Johnson reportedly handed down the sentence this week against Jeremy Williams who murdered, raped and brutalized Kamarie Holland in 2021.

Holland's mother told police that when she woke up at 5:50 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2021, her daughter was gone and the front door of their Columbus, Georgia, home was open, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told reporters. The girl's body was found late that night at an abandoned home in nearby Phenix City, Alabama where Williams once lived.

A jury found him guilty Friday of four counts of capital murder, among other charges.

Living in Columbus at the time of the murder, Williams raped and strangled Holland after offering her mother $2,500 for Holland to perform oral sex on him, according to testimony given in his trial. Video evidence shown to jurors captured officers finding Holland's body and of him sexually assaulting the girl. Some jurors began to cry as videos of the assault were shown, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

After his conviction, Holland's father, Corey Holland Sr., urged the judge to order the death penalty for his daughter's killer.

"His life compares nothing to Kamarie's," he told the newspaper.

Several other witnesses talked about the impact the case had on them and offered their opinion of Williams, WRBL-TV reported.

Williams' ex-wife called him "soulless" and a now-23-year-old woman who was four when Williams allegedly molested her described him as a "monster."

Taylor told the Ledger-Enquirer this was one of the hardest cases the sheriff's office has ever had to investigate.

"If there's ever been somebody that's deserving of the death penalty its Jeremy Williams," Taylor said after the sentencing. "He's another type of evil that we in society just don't need walking around."

In addition to the four death sentences, Johnson sentenced Williams to life in prison for production of obscene material of a child and human trafficking; 20 years for conspiracy of human trafficking; and 10 years for abuse of a corpse.

Though he now sits on death row at Holman State Prison in Atmore, authorities said Williams' execution could be decades away. Russell County District Attorney Rick Chancey speculated it will take a while for the sentence to be carried out.

"At its current pace, I'll die before he does," Chancey, who is 55, told the television station. "My life expectancy right now is probably shorter than his."

Chancey said he visited the little girl's grave recently and said, "There's no reason that baby should be in the ground."

"I want to remember her, not this joker," said Chancey. "Jeremy is not somebody I want to remember in life."

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