Court of criminal appeals upholds Macon County capital murder conviction

Published: May. 31, 2017 at 4:11 PM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2017 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - On Friday, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the capital murder conviction of Gary Lee Poisel, according to Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Poisel, 45, of Amarillo, Texas, was convicted in October 2016 for the murder of Macon County resident Robert Nelson in 1999.

Court records say, Poisel and his girlfriend, Johnna Gray, were hitchhiking when they were picked up by the victim. They stopped at a convenience store where Nelson parked his semi-truck for the night. While his girlfriend was in the store, Poisel stabbed Nelson in the neck, chest and back, according to court records.

Poisel and Gray threw the body over a guardrail and dumped the truck at another truck stop. Evidence was collected from the semi-truck, but many of the DNA samples from those items were unidentified, and the investigation was stalled for over a decade.

In March 2010, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation was notified that the FBI identified Poisel as a match with previously unidentified DNA samples from the case. Gray's DNA was also identified, and she testified against Poisel. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison and 12 years probation.

Poisel was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for his capital murder conviction and sought to have his conviction reversed on repeal.

The Attorney General's Criminal Appeals Section argued for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to uphold the conviction.

Poisel will continue his life sentence.

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