District Attorneys Accuse Alabama AG of Launching a Political Attack

30 District Attorneys took part in Monday's news conference.
30 District Attorneys took part in Monday's news conference.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King is getting a ear full from some Alabama district attorneys. They're speaking out in support one of their own, who they say was the victim of a political attack by the attorney general.

More than thirty district attorneys traveled to Montgomery to show support for their fellow prosecutor in a news conference on the steps of the state house.

"We want to draw a clear distinction between what we believe the attorney general has done and our ethical, moral responsibility," said Kenneth Davis, president of the Alabama Association of District Attorneys.

They blame Attorney General Troy King for dissing one of their own in the media. They say King called Shelby County DA Robby Owen's decision to remove a killer from death row "outrageous."

In response, Owens says it was a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that helped dictate his decision -- something he says King can't understand because of his lack of courtroom experience.

"You can't do that guys, if you haven't ever tried a case," Owens told reporters.

As for the attorney general, he was out of the office Monday. But in a written statement, King accused the district attorneys of trying to "distort" and "spin" the facts.

King said Owens "rejected the painful pleas of a murder victim's family by choosing to support the killer, who murdered their loved one in cold blood."

The district attorneys call King's statements more politics.

"Troy (King) wants to get the political aspect of the victim's needs," Owens said. "So do I. In 24 years as a prosecutor all I've ever done is ask for victims to get their rights. But in this case, I can't. And i think he knows he shouldn't.

Again, the disagreement is the result of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which says juveniles can no longer be put to death for their crimes. That forced Owens to remove a 16-year-old murderer from Shelby County's death row.

But Owens also decided to remove an 18-year-old accomplice from death row. He says it was the only fair thing to do. The attorney general apparently disagreed.

The district attorneys asked King to apologize for his statements in the media. In his statement to WSFA 12 News, he said he had no intention to apologize.

Reporter: Mark Bullock