The daughters oppose the upcoming execution of their mother’s killer

This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. Terryln Hall said she, her sister and her mother's brother oppose Alabama's plan to execute the man convicted of murdering their mother.  Unless a judge or the governor intervenes, Joe Nathan James Jr. will receive a lethal injection on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at a prison in southern Alabama.  (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

This undated photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Joe Nathan James Jr. Terryln Hall said she, her sister and her mother’s brother oppose Alabama’s plan to execute the man convicted of murdering their mother. Unless a judge or the governor intervenes, Joe Nathan James Jr. will receive a lethal injection on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at a prison in southern Alabama. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

PA

Terryln Hall was only 6 years old when her mother, Faith, was shot dead by a former boyfriend.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Hall and his sister – along with their uncle – are opposing Alabama’s plan to execute the man who killed their mother. Unless a judge or the governor intervenes, Joe Nathan James Jr., 49, will die by lethal injection Thursday night in a southern Alabama prison.

“We’ve thought about it and prayed about it, and found the courage within ourselves to forgive him for what he’s done. We really wish we could do something to stop him,” Hall said in a phone interview. with the Associated Press.

Faith Hall briefly dated James, but he became obsessed with her, prosecutors said. On August 15, 1994, he broke into an apartment, pulled a gun from his belt and shot her three times. A Jefferson County jury convicted James of capital murder in 1996 and voted to recommend the death sentence, which a judge imposed.

The conviction was overturned when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a judge improperly admitted certain police reports into evidence. James was retried and sentenced to death again in 1999, when jurors rejected defense claims that he was under emotional duress at the time of the shooting. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied James’s stay of execution on Tuesday.

Faith Hall was 26 when she died, leaving behind two young daughters. Terryln Hall, six, struggled to understand what had happened to her mother.

“I knew she wouldn’t come back, but I never understood why. Why would he do that? This is still a question I want to know to this day: why? she says.

Hall said her only real memory of her mother was of a hard worker who took care of her daughters and “everyone around.”

“He took a big part of us away, a big part of our heart,” she said.

The road to forgiveness has been a long process for Hall.

“I hated him. I did it. And I know hate is such a strong word, but I really had hate in my heart. As you get older and realize, you can’t walk around with hate in your heart. You still have to live. And once I had my own kids, you know, I can’t pass it on to my kids and make them walk around with hate in their hearts,” she said.

State Representative Juandalynn Givan sent a letter to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey relaying the family’s request to stop the execution.

“In this instance, the Hall family, with deep prayer, consideration and conviction, asks you to have mercy in sparing the life of Mr. James,” Givan said in a statement.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall urged Ivey to let the execution continue, despite the victim’s family’s request, writing that “it is our duty to ensure that justice is served for the people of Alabama”.

The governor did not indicate what she intended to do. Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola wrote in an email that the governor “will carefully review all facts and information surrounding the matter.”

Hall realizes that asking the state to spare the life of the man who killed her mother may seem counterintuitive, but she is constrained by deeply held beliefs.

“I know this might sound crazy. Like, do you really want this man to live? But… I just feel like we can’t play God. You can’t take a life. And it won’t bring my mom back,” she said.

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