Man sentenced to death for 2018 Guntersville murders

Jimmy Spencer was sentenced to death by a Marshall County Judge Monday.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 10:52 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 7:14 PM CST
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A man who was convicted in October of killing three people in 2018 has been sentenced to death by a Marshall County judge.

In October, Jimmy Spencer was convicted of killing three people in Guntersville. Following his conviction, the jury in his case unanimously recommended the death penalty after just 30 minutes of deliberation.

Judge Tim Riley sided with the jury and sentenced Spencer to the death penalty. Spencer will become the 167th person on Alabama’s death row.

Friends and families of the victims took to the stand to speak to the judge about their loved ones during the sentencing hearing. After them, Spencer took the stand and apologized for what happened and said if he could go back in time he would change it.

Judge Riley spoke about the trial and said that he has been through many murder trials but said the crime scene photos he saw in this trial will stick with him. Judge Riley says that Spencer will be given an automatic appeal.

He also said that if a book or movie is ever made, all money from the deal will go to the state.

Spencer was charged with seven counts of capital murder after he was accused of causing the deaths of Martha Reliford, Marie Martin and Colton Lee.

During the trial, jurors heard recordings of Spencer confessing to the murders. In the recordings, Spencer goes into detail about the murders.

In the audio recording, Spencer explains that he went to Reliford’s house to steal money from her but when he realized she could report him to the police, he made the decision to kill her.

Spencer then says he went across the street to take money from Martin’s home. After stealing from her, he says on the tape that he made the decision to kill her and her seven-year-old great-grandson.

The Guntersville Police Department arrested Spencer after he was seen on security footage driving Martin’s car. At the time of the murders, Spencer was out of prison on parole.

Prior to the trial starting, there was a question as to whether the death penalty would be in play due to Spencer’s low IQ but a judge ruled that the prosecution would be allowed to seek the death penalty. An expert witness for the defense team advised the court that Spencer’s IQ was 56.

Marie Martin’s brother Junior Kitchens spoke after the sentencing saying that Spencer targeted the three most vulnerable people possible.

“They meant everything to us. There’s no closure to it. They’ll always be with us,” Kitchens said. “She had a flip phone, and that’s all she could probably operate. She probably didn’t have much money in the house. She would’ve given anything to have him go along and leave the kid alone.”

Spencer was out on parole when the murders were committed. Kitchens said his sister would still be alive if he had not been released.

“They paroled him,” Kitchens said. “He should’ve never been paroled. Then he came on the street and did whatever he wanted to, and his parole officer never checked up on him.”

Now facing the end of his life, Spencer said he wishes he could change his past.

“I’m sorry about what happened,” Spencer said. “I wish I could change everything about what happened. If I could go back and change everything I would, but I can’t.”