The execution of Kenneth Williams for his 1999 slaying of Cecil Boren, a Grady farmer and former prison warden, during a prison escape remains scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, though actions in state and federal courts are anticipated in the final hours.
As we reported yesterday, and also here by Fox 16, Williams’ final hours included a meeting Wednesday with his daughter, Jasmine Johnson, whom he hadn’t seen in 18 years, and a three-year-old granddaughter he’d never seen. Their travel to Arkansas from a home in Washington, D.C., was arranged and paid for by the family of Michael Greenwood, a Missouri delivery truck driver who was killed in a crash with a stolen vehicle driven by Williams in his effort to elude capture in the slaying of Boren. When he escaped, he was serving a life sentence for the 1998 kidnapping and murder of a UAPB student, Dominique Hurd. He later, in a 2005 letter to the Pine Bluff Commercial, confessed to another slaying of a Pine Bluff man, Jerrell Jenkins, the same day.
Greenwood’s daughter, Kayla, said she’d learned about Williams’ family in reading about the coming execution of the man who caused her father’s death. She said she and her mother had forgiven Williams and felt arranging a final meeting between Williams and his family seemed the right thing to do.
From Fox 16’s interview with Jasmine Johnson about the prison visit with her father:
She says they said their final goodbyes.
“He said tomorrow, no matter what happens, he will at least be more at peace now knowing that he was able to see me and my daughter. As well as everything the Greenwood family has done for him,” said Johnson.
Kayla misses her father everyday, but making this connection possible helps her find closure.
“For me I just put myself in her shoes and it just feels like I would be able to see my dad and I would be able to see my dad meet my children,” said Greenwood.
With the planned execution for Williams Thursday, the families say they will forever be connected through love.
“I have a lifelong bond with her and we’re family now. There’s nothing I can about change that,” said Greenwood.
Both Jasmine and her daughter plan to fly home soon. The Greenwood family says they will travel back to Missouri Wednesday. They do not plan to go to the execution.
Kayla Greenwood came to Arkansas to meet Johnson, but wasn’t able in the time available to arrange a visit with Williams.