Alabama to execute inmate for 1994 store clerk murder

An undated photo of Ronald Bert Smith, Jr., convicted of killing a convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery in 1994. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is preparing to execute an inmate convicted in the 1994 killing of a convenience store clerk.

Forty-five-year-old Ronald Bert Smith, Jr. is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m. Thursday.

A jury recommended life imprisonment by a 7-5 vote, but a judge sentenced Smith to death.

Smith’s attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution, saying a January ruling raises legal questions about Alabama’s allowance of judicial override.

Smith was convicted in the 1994 slaying of Huntsville convenience store clerk Casey Wilson. Lawyers for the state said Smith pistol-whipped Wilson when he wouldn’t open the cash register and then shot him through the head.

Smith’s lawyers wrote in a clemency petition that Smith was a former Eagle Scout whose life spiraled downward because of alcoholism.

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