First On WSFA 12 News: Springford Trial Move Now Before Supreme Court; Decision May Come Soon - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

First On WSFA 12 News: Springford Trial Move Now Before Supreme Court; Decision May Come Soon

Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Teacher hit by train expected to make full recovery

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 04:50:06 GMT
    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.More >>
    Multiple sources tell News Leader 9 that a Smiths Station teacher was hit by a train earlier today in Lee County.

    Officials at the Smiths Station Fire Department say the victim, later identified as Vivian Martin, was transported to Midtown Medical Center with what appeared to be non life-threatening injuries.
    More >>
  • Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox County blaze

    Foul play not ruled out in fatal Wilcox Co. blaze

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:23 AM EDT2014-07-29 04:23:03 GMT
    Mable Davis could do nothing but watch as flames devoured the home across the street, where her sister, Patricia Nickelson had been staying with her long time boyfriend. He got out of the burning houseMore >>
    Multiple calls and email to the WSFA 12 Newsroom took our news crews to the town of Camden. Two recent deadly fires there have many in the community on edge. The families of the victims want answers.  Are the fires related?  Do authorities suspect arson? WSFA took their questions to county and state officials.
    More >>
  • Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Committee selects new Houston County Sheriff candidate

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:44:08 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday. Current Houston County Chief Deputy Donald Valenza will replace HughesMore >>
    The Houston County Republican Executive Committee agreed on a replacement for outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes on Monday.More >>

The battle over where accused killer Brent Springford will go on trial is in the Alabama Supreme Court tonight.

The justices could issue a decision in a matter of days.

The question at hand; did widespread news coverage rob Springford of any chance of a fair trial?

WSFA 12 News reporter Chris Holmes has looked at the Supreme Court filings from both sides.

Springford's attorneys are depending on one simple contention; because of the victims' visibility in the community, anyone charged with their murders could never get a fair trial.

"Hundreds of people showed up for their funerals," said Springford lawyer Jay Lewis.  "The case simply drew a lot of attention."

The defense told the court the Montgomery Advertiser ran 22 stories about the murders, and that WSFA 12 News also mentioned Springford's name 170 times since November 2004.

As proof of a likely bias, Lewis points to local internet bulletin boards.

"People's biases and prejudices and opinions are reinforced more," he said.

Prosecutors declined an on-camera interview Monday, but their court filing accuses Springford's attorneys of contributing to the publicity with interviews including several Lewis did with WSFA 12 News in the last few months.

In several previous high profile cases, the courts have kept trials in the cities where the crimes occurred as long as jurors swore the publicity would not influence their decision.

That includes notorious murder cases for Quang Bui, Benjamin Oryang, and Torrey McNabb, who murdered police officer Anderson Gordon.

As a result, prosecutors say Judge William Shashy should have at least tried to seat a jury before forcing everyone to Birmingham. Lewis says that would cause even more complications.

"If you go all the way to jury selection, you've already predisposed the court and everybody else to keep the case where it is," he said.

That's the key argument before the court.

But the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the prosecutors' contentions and that's how it ended up before the Supreme Court. The state is supposed to provide justices with its last written argument Thursday.

We could see a quick decision because Springford's case is scheduled for January 7th.   

Prosecutors say if the court forces them to put Springford on trial in Birmingham, it will cost the county at least a quarter of a million dollars.

District attorney Ellen Brooks says she is asking the Montgomery County Commission for help in covering that cost.

Reporter: Chris Holmes

Powered by WorldNow