Speed Reads

forgiveness

Family of a man killed by a death row inmate buys the inmate's daughter a plane ticket for a final visit

The family of a Missouri man killed by an Arkansas inmate scheduled to be executed on Thursday sent the inmate's daughter a plane ticket so she could see him for the first time in 17 years.

In 1999, Kenneth Williams, now 38, escaped from prison and was being chased in a stolen car by police when he rammed into a water delivery truck being driven by Michael Greenwood. Greenwood died instantly. Kayla Greenwood was 5 at the time of her father's death, and her mother, Stacey, was pregnant with twin boys. After the Springfield News-Leader interviewed Kayla about the upcoming execution, she was moved to contact Williams' 21-year-old daughter, Jasmine. Once the Greenwood family found out she hadn't seen her father in 17 years and he has never met her toddler daughter, they purchased tickets for mother and daughter to fly from Washington to Little Rock, and Kayla, her mother, her stepfather, and the twins drove down on Wednesday morning to meet them and drive to the prison.

Kayla said the family sent Williams a message letting him know they forgave him, and Jasmine told her that when "the warden read the email to him, he broke out in tears. When he found out that we are bringing his daughter and granddaughter to see him and that my mom and dad bought the tickets, he was crying to the attorney." It was important that Jasmine and her daughter have time with Williams, Kayla said, and her family was "excited to come, as if it was happening for us."

Williams is in prison for the murder of a college cheerleader, and he murdered another man during his escape; he later confessed to a third murder that took place in 1998. Arkansas is pushing to execute eight death row inmates, because the state's stockpile of lethal injection drugs is set to expire at the end of the month; if Williams is put to death on Thursday, it will be the fourth execution in Arkansas in a week.