Execution set for March

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A man convicted of fatally shooting a Sylacauga store clerk in 1987 is scheduled to be executed in March at Atmore’s Holman Prison.

On Tuesday, Dec. 23, the Alabama Supreme Court announced the spring execution date for William Ernest Kuenzel, who has already served 27 years on Death Row. Kuenzel is scheduled to face execution on March 19, 2015.

The court approved the order in an 8-1 decision, with Justice Greg Shaw dissenting.

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The last execution to take place at Holman was on July 25, 2013, when Andrew Reid Lackey was put to death for murder.

Executions had been delayed in Alabama for several months, as officials searched for a new lethal drug combination that would be approved for use in prisons. A European company told the state in early 2014 that it would no longer manufacture pentobarbital, one of the first drugs administered during executions.

A new legal drug combination was approved in the fall, and the Alabama Attorney General’s office quickly requested for scheduled execution dates for Kuenzel and other inmates on Death Row.

Kuenzel was convicted of capital murder in the 1987 shooting death of Sylacauga convenience store clerk Linda Offord. He has been on Death Row since his conviction in 1988, and has maintained his innocence throughout the appeals process.

Kuenzel’s attorneys released a statement shortly after the announcement of his execution date.

“There is no reason in law to issue an order two days before Christmas — especially to set a date in March 2015,” Kuenzel’s legal team said, in the statement. “The arbitrary timing of the order is sickening and contrary to the spirit of the holiday season.”

His attorneys said they plan to challenge the execution date order, arguing that Kuenzel still has an appeal pending with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.