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Special to the News
Attorney General Steve Marshall issued the following statement last Thursday night after the execution of Joe Nathan James Jr. at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore:
“Justice has been served. Joe James was put to death for the heinous act he committed nearly three decades ago: the cold-blooded murder of an innocent young mother, Faith Hall.
“In the years since, Joe James has tried to blame everything and everyone in an attempt to escape the consequences of his crime. He has claimed that his highly experienced trial counsel was ‘ineffective,’ that his artful appellate counsel was ‘deficient,’ and – in a demonstration of shocking cowardice and callousness – that his victim bore the blame for her own murder.
“Tonight, Joe James finally received his just punishment.”
Attorney General Marshall cleared the execution to commence at 9:04 p.m.
Joe James’ time of death was 9:27 p.m.
Summary of the facts of the case:
On the evening of August 15, 1994, Faith Hall and Tammy Sneed were driving home after a day of shopping. As they neared Tammy’s apartment, the friends were suddenly startled by something frightening that appeared in the rearview mirror: Joe James, a former boyfriend of Faith’s who had a history of aggression and violence, was behind them, following them in his car.
Terrified, Faith and Tammy ran for the safety of Tammy’s apartment as soon as they arrived. Inside, the two friends and a neighbor frantically discussed what they should do. With Tammy’s two children also in the apartment, they decided to call the police. But it was too late. James was already at the doorstep.
As Faith and Tammy tried desperately to hold the front door of the apartment closed, James forced his way inside. Armed with a .38-caliber pistol, James furiously confronted Faith and accused her of being disloyal and deceitful to him. Faith pleaded with James, but it quickly became clear that nothing she said would quell his rage.
Faith turned and tried to run from the room, but James followed and fired at her. He shot her in the chest and in the abdomen before shooting her in the head.
Faith Hall died from the gunshot wounds. She was 26 years old and the mother of two young children.
Joe James fled the state, but was later arrested in California and returned to Alabama to face justice. At trial he was convicted of capital murder by a jury of his peers, who returned a unanimous verdict recommending that James be sentenced to death.