Johnson set to die Thursday
Sentenced for murder of area jewelry dealer
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Barring intervention from out-going governor Don Siegelman, Anthony Keith Johnson will be the first Alabama prisoner to die by lethal injection, sent to his death for his part in the murder of a Hartselle businessman.
Johnson's execution is set for Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. Johnson, of Oak Ridge, will be the first state prisoner to die by lethal injection since the state's method of death was changed by the State Legislature. Alabama had been using the electric chair, nicknamed "Yellow Mama."
Johnson has been on death row for more than 17 years. In 1985, he was convicted of murder for his part in the March 11, 1984 death of Hartselle jewelry dealer K.L. "Ken" Cantrell, 51. Cantrell was killed in his home on Woodmont Street by two men. He was shot four times at close range after exchanging gunfire with the assailants.
Johnson was arrested after he sought medical treatment to have a bullet removed from his back. The other suspect in the case was never arrested.
Siegelman has not granted any stays of execution during his tenure as governor. Johnson's case is different from many others, however, because the jury in his trial originally sentenced him to life in prison. The judge in the case later overturned that decision and sentenced Johnson to death.
In 1988 and 2002, the United States Supreme Court denied review of the case.