Birmingham Police Shooting Suspects Plead Not Guilty

Two men pleaded not guilty on capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of three Birmingham police officers. 24-year-old Kerry Spencer faces trial April 18th.

Trial for 28-year-old co-defendant, Nathaniel Woods, is set for June 13th. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tommy Nail will hear both capital murder cases.

At Friday's plea hearing, defense attorney Mike Blalock told the court Spencer pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect. Attorneys for Woods entered the not guilty plea but reserved the right to enter any special pleas in the future.

As Nail ruled on pretrial motions, at least 15 lawmen and one slain officer's widow observed the proceedings. Neither defendant spoke during the hearing.

Spencer and Woods are accused of killing 58-year-old Carlos "Curly" Owen; 33-year-old Charles Bennett; and 40-year-old Harley Chisholm the Third, on June 17th as the officers attempted to serve a misdemeanor warrant on Woods.

The shootings occurred at an apartment in the Ensley neighborhood. A witness said the suspects sold drugs.

A fourth officer, Michael Collins, was shot at but not injured. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

A conviction could bring a death sentence or life in prison without parole.

Alabama Associated Press