First On WSFA 12 News - State Supreme Court: Springford Trial Stays In Birmingham - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

First On WSFA 12 News - State Supreme Court: Springford Trial Stays In Birmingham

A huge disappointment Friday for prosecutors and the surviving members of the Springford family.

The Alabama Supreme Court confirmed a lower court order to move the case against accused double murderer Brent Springford Junior to Birmingham.  WSFA 12 News was first to break the story.

Springford is charged with capital murder for the deaths of his mother and father, Charlotte and Brent Springford, Sr.

The Supreme Court decision revolved around the issue of pretrial publicity.  A lower court judge said the trial must move because the media paid so much attention to the brutal murder.

But prosecutors appealed that decision, saying the defense never proved the jury pool was tainted, and in fact, that Springford and his attorneys generated much of the publcity themselves. 

The facts would support one of those claims - the words of Brent Springford himself.

He called WSFA 12 News reporter Chris Holmes while he looked into the case in Colorado.

"Anything that happens to me in Alabama," Springford said via phone in December 2004, "will be tainted with bias and conflict of interest."

Even before his arrest, Springford called WSFA 12 News, and we aired his statements.

"This is completely myself, my own thoughts," he said.

Last fall, Springford's attorneys convinced a judge that all the publicity meant he couldn't get a fair trial in Montgomery.

"The mood in the community is overwhelming," said lawyer Jay Lewis.

But prosecutors say the judge skipped a step to see of potential jurors are biased. They said Judge William Shashy should have polled any potential jurors to see if any prejudice existed.

So, when the Supreme Court ordered the case to Birmingham anyway, that frustrated the DA.

"We were looking for some new law on this issue, and after four and a half months we got back once sentence," said Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks.

It's first time in Montgomery County history a judge has moved a case because of publicity. 

Brooks says  this was the wrong case to set such a precedent, and expressed dismay at the Supreme Court's one-sentence opinion.

"Now we have no law, no guidance from our Supreme Court as to what the factors are and our contention all along was that the other side never proved adverse pretrial publicity," Brooks said.

Brooks estimates the Birmingham based trial will cost her office a quarter of a million dollars to uproot and move north, and money isnt the only issue.

"It will possibly shut our office down for the length of the trial, not to mention the work we have to do ahead of time," she said.

Springfords case has one final roadblock. His attorneys want to prohibit a jury from hearing what you heard a moment ago.

"What we're looking for is a fair trial. We're looking for justice," said Jay Lewis.

As for when Springford might actually go on trial?

Prosecutors have already filed a request for a trial date, but both sides say it will take 45 to 60 days to get everything ready.

So, it could happen as early as April.

Reporter: Chris Holmes

 

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