Gavin execution scheduled for next week

News Staff Writer

Alabama death row inmate Keith Edmund Gavin, sentenced to death in 1999 for the 1998 murder of a Cherokee County delivery courier, is scheduled to die by lethal injection next week at William C. Holman Correctional Facility outside Atmore.
Gavin’s execution, which will be the state’s third this year, is scheduled to take place “between midnight Wednesday, July 17, and 6 a.m. Friday, July 19,” according to a press release from Gov. Kay Ivey, who set the parameters.
Gavin was convicted by a jury in 1999 for the March 6, 1998 robbery-murder of William Clinton Clayton Jr., a contract courier for Corporate Express Delivery Systems.
Clayton was shot and killed while sitting in his van outside the Regions Bank in downtown Centre. Court documents show he had completed his deliveries for the day and had stopped at the bank to withdraw cash from an ATM to take his spouse out to dinner.
Two other Alabama death row inmates have already paid the ultimate price for their crimes since 2024 began.
Kenneth Eugene Smith
Smith, convicted by a Colbert County jury of the 1988 murder-for-hire of Elizabeth Sennett, was put to death by nitrogen hypoxia in January, becoming the first condemned person in the world to be executed by that method.
According to court documents, the victim’s husband, Charles Sennett Sr., recruited Billy Gray Williams to murder his wife. Williams in turn recruited Smith and John Forrest Parker to assist.
Smith and Parker carried out the murder by stabbing Elizabeth Sennett to death at her home, and each was sentenced to death. Smith’s execution officially closed the books on the case, as he was the last of the involved parties still alive.
A week after Elizabeth Stennett’s murder, Charles Sennett Sr. committed suicide after learning he was a suspect. Parker was executed in 2010, also by lethal injection, and Williams, who was sentenced to life without parole, died in prison in November 2020.
Jamie Ray Mills
Mills’ death sentence was carried out May 30. He was convicted of the 2004 double murder of Floyd and Vera Hill in Marion County.
The Hills were married for 55 years. Floyd, 87, acted as caretaker for 72-year-old Vera, who was diabetic and in poor health.
According to court records, when Mills and his common law wife JoAnn knocked on the elderly couple’s door on June 24, 2004, and asked to use their phone, the couple obliged.
Jamie Mills ambushed Floyd Hill in a shed, attacking him with a ball peen hammer, a tire tool and a machete, according to court transcripts. When Vera went to the shed to see what was going on, Mills attacked her, hitting her repeatedly on the back of the head with the hammer.
Floyd Hill died instantly. Vera Hill lived for a few more months but finally died from complications brought on by the attack.

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