LaFayette, Ala., Feb. 9, 2007 -- District Attorney E. Paul Jones has duties covering four counties -- Macon, Tallapoosa, Chambers, and Randolph. He says the recent arrest of Amos David "A.D." Spidell, 77, Thursday afternoon after a Thursday morning grand jury indictment for a 1978 incident which led to the death of then 49-year-old James "Bubba" Lecroy was important in showing the community unsolved crimes have not been forgotten. Lecroy was shot and killed at Hall's Café in Lanett around 6:00 a.m. on December 22, 1978.
Spidell was escorted into the county jail by investigators, proclaiming his innocence,"I didn't do it. I'm not guilty," Spidell told authorities as he was walking in.
Former Lanett Police Chief Bobby Chandler responded to Spidell's arrest, "I believe there were three shots fired in the restaurant because we took two out of the wall," Chandler said.
Chandler said the third bullet was in Lecroy, and he made it his mission to find the weapon.
"I recovered a gun in Atlanta at a night club. My detective and I went to Atlanta, and we picked the gun up," said Chandler.
But District Attorney Jones tells WSFA.com it would be unethical for him to comment on specific evidence in the case. He did say, "There was some newly discovered evidence...the case was relatively close to being taken to the grand jury but we got a break...not a smoking gun, but enough to close the gaps I felt were in the case."
He says this case is part of "unsolved murder cases pending...a few older than this one, some newer...I considered the Waites case an unsolved murder because it hadn't been indicted..."
As to not making this a capital murder case Jones tells WSFA.com, "I don't think the facts quite fit a capital murder case..of course the case will go to a jury."
Jones says he would hope the case would go to trial quickly. He says he will move it ahead of robbery and burglary cases and "hopefully this fall at the latest...fairly quick in a murder case."
Jones says,"If the jury finds him not guilty that needs to be done while he's alive and would of course be to his benefit. Likewise, if they find him guilty it helps to impress on the community we do not let murder go unattended to..."
Paul says there are about 35 or so unsolved cases in his circuit. "I have to believe the vast majority are probably not solvable, but what we're going to do is have folks look through files. I have talked to all the law enforcement agencies involved. I did that about 1.5 years ago."
As part of his efforts not to leave any stone unturned, Jones says he is going to set up a Cold Case Squad of sorts, "I haven't named it yet, but we have a retired FBI and retired ABI agent who have volunteered to be part of this group...We will use their knowledge and expertise to get to as many of these cases as possible. They will go through one file at a time and review it and tell us things like 'go look at this aspect of the case; find and look at this witness; get this evidence tested or retested.' If there's DNA involved. we will go back and test that and in at least one instance, we will likely have to exhume a body. We want to help these matters get brought to a conclusion."
Jones says he wants to keep at least three of the cases on his mind at a time. He says the first meeting of the group will probably take place in Alex City sometime in March and then the group will decide when and how often to meet after that. He says both retirees live in the Alex City area and he's also waiting to move into new offices in Alex City.
Jones says he has "met with many of the victims' families and many I have not met with yet. I want to try to avoid getting their hopes up unless we have some really positive developments. This has been a huge trauma for them and I hate to pour salt on old wounds without the ability to heal some of this down the road."
With Spidell's arrest, he hopes this one is close to being closed. Spidell is being held on $140,000 bond.
Reported by:Helen Hammons