After being interviewed by the News-Leader about the death of her father and the impending execution in Arkansas of the man who caused it, a Willard woman reached out to the inmate's daughter in Washington on Tuesday.
Kenneth Williams is scheduled to be executed on Thursday at Varner Supermax in Grady, Arkansas. He caused the death of a Springfield man, Michael Greenwood, in 1999. Greenwood's daughter Kayla was 5 at the time and his wife Stacey was pregnant with identical twin boys.
Kayla Greenwood learned a few days ago that Williams has a 21-year-old daughter named Jasmine that he hasn't seen in 17 years and a 3-year-old granddaughter that he's never met.
Kayla got the daughter's phone number from Williams' attorney and called her Tuesday.
Stacey, who remarried about four years after Michael Greenwood was killed and now lives in Ozark, purchased plane tickets for Jasmine and the toddler to fly from Washington to Little Rock on Wednesday so she can visit her father.
Kayla, along with her brothers, her mom and stepfather are driving to Little Rock on Wednesday morning to pick up Jasmine and drive her to the prison.
"We both cried. We had a lot to talk about and a lot to relate to," Kayla Greenwood said. "We are just excited for today and being able to be there for each other."
Williams, who was convicted of two unrelated murders and later confessed to a third, is among the eight Arkansas death row inmates who were set to be executed over the course of 11 days. He could be the fourth death row inmate put to death in a week. The state's effort has been driven by the April 30 expiration date of its supply of midazolam, the first of three drugs administered in the state's lethal injection protocol.
Williams, 38, initially was sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 killing of University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff cheerleader Dominique Hurd. After jurors spared his life, he turned to the girl’s family and taunted them, saying “You thought I was going to die, didn’t you?”
Three weeks after his conviction, he escaped by hiding in a barrel of hog slop being ferried from a prison kitchen to a prison hog farm outside the main gates. Once out, he killed Cecil Boren, who lived near the prison, and stole a truck. During a chase in southern Missouri the next day, Williams crashed into a water-delivery truck, killing the driver, Michael Greenwood, before police captured him.
While in prison, Williams said he had killed another person in 1998.
According to a News-Leader story, Michael Greenwood was turning his Culligan water delivery truck into a shop in Urbana, along his route. Before he could make the turn, Williams rammed into his truck, killing him instantly.
Kayla Greenwood said she emailed a message to Williams through his attorney.
"I told him we forgive him and where I stood on it," Kayla said. "(Jasmine) said 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," Kayla said. "He was sad he couldn't talk to us."
Kayla said there isn't enough time for her and family to be approved for a prison visit. They plan to wait outside while Jasmine and her daughter go into the prison.
"We wanted that time for him and his daughter and granddaughter," Kayla said just before hitting the road Wednesday morning. "We are excited to come, as if it was happening for us."