WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Convicted Lauderdale County killer denied parole

Eric Boyd

Eric Boyd was denied parole in the 1999 slaying of Danny Sledge.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 12:55 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2019 1:55 PM

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole on Wednesday for a convicted Lauderdale County killer, Eric Boyd.

Boyd and his brother killed and robbed Danny Sledge in March of 1999. Boyd and his brother, Nathan Boyd, were convicted of the murder in 2001. The two robbed Sledge at his restaurant and stabbed him more than 23 times. Boyd was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in 2001.


Danny Sledge

Danny Sledge's sister and daughter embracing after speaking to the parole board

Sledge's family packed into the hearing room on Wednesday in Montgomery. They took up every seat to ask the board to keep Boyd behind bars. One of Sledge's daughters told the board that Eric Boyd is a dangerous person and he took her father for no reason.

"I'm coming to you begging you not to release Eric Boyd," said Jessica Columbia, Danny Sledge's daughter. "He and his brother left
a void in our life that can never be filled. He took daddy."

Eric Boyd's mother, Beverly, addressed the board saying she needed him to be paroled and out of prison, but couldn't give them any reasons or signs of his rehabilitation. Then, Danny Sledge's daughter, his sister, victims' groups and the attorney general's office all addressed the board about the crime he and his brother committed.

Columbia and her family prepared for this moment to stand before the three-person parole board and give their dad, Danny Sledge, a voice.

"Evil is evil and it takes someone evil to do what Eric did to my daddy," said Columbia. "This is taxing on the family. It's hard on you and just preparing for it mentally is really hard."

The WAAY 31 I-Team investigated the parole board's policies and procedures for almost a year. We uncovered a series of flaws that led to a violent man, Jimmy Spencer, being paroled. Within six months of his release from prison, he was arrested for murdering three people in Guntersville. The governor and attorney general even called the board a broken system when presented with WAAY 31's findings.

Columbia said with all the controversy at the board, she's ready to see the parole law in place and more changes made so victims like herself can worry less.

"We've heard so much over the last five years of people actually getting paroled that shouldn't have been paroled and I was really nervous about it," said Columbia.

Currently, Eddie Cook is still the executive director of the parole board, but he will be replaced September 1st by Judge Charles Graddick, who was appointed by the governor at the beginning of July. Graddick will be the governor's eyes and ears at the board.

Parole Board Chairperson Lyn Head is still in place but the new parole law, which gives the governor more control over the board, will start September 1st. Head's term expired in June of 2018.

We emailed the governor's office on Wednesday asking if Head would be replaced in September when the law goes into effect.

Gov. Ivey's office said, "The Governor has spoken to Lyn Head and told her that decisions are being made and that all options remain on the table."

We asked the board's newly hired public information officer about Graddick taking over September 1st.

"We haven't had any formal meetings with him so we don't really have any information for you," said Matthew Estes, the Alabama Pardon and Parole Board's public information officer.

Right now, it's unclear what new changes Graddick will impose at the parole board, but we know the parole law gives the governor more appointment power at the board, stops early parole considerations for violent offenders and strengthens victim notification.

"I think with the new changes that are coming about, I am feeling a little bit better about it. I was really nervous because some of them aren't in place yet, but I think justice will be served and they will work hard to make sure violent offenders like Eric Boyd are kept in prison," said Columbia.

The Lauderdale County District Attorney's Office also spoke to the board and said Eric Boyd has had some 16 disciplinary actions against him while in prison. Most of those were in the last few years and involved violent acts.

The board set his next hearing for 2024. That's the maximum the board can set a person's next parole hearing after being denied. This is the second time Boyd has been denied parole.

Sledge's family told WAAY 31 after the hearing, they feel relieved knowing they won't have to come to Montgomery and ask to keep a killer in prison for at least another five years.

Nathan Boyd was re-sentenced to life without parole in 2018.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 50°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 822085

Reported Deaths: 12001
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby914971575
Davidson86563918
Knox48960619
Hamilton42811480
Rutherford41428415
Williamson26942213
Sumner22909338
Montgomery18780223
Out of TN17852101
Wilson17747223
Unassigned16441132
Sullivan15781283
Blount14839194
Bradley14284147
Washington13850240
Sevier12986174
Maury12901166
Putnam11072173
Madison10628240
Robertson9486127
Anderson8539171
Hamblen8409169
Greene7645151
Tipton7171104
Coffee6782121
Dickson6643108
Cumberland6461127
Gibson6355144
Bedford6350126
Carter6332156
McMinn625595
Roane6124101
Jefferson6008121
Loudon595869
Lawrence573186
Hawkins5682105
Monroe564395
Warren549481
Dyer5340104
Franklin504987
Fayette484578
Obion447196
Cocke439598
Cheatham436551
Rhea428075
Lincoln427963
Marshall407358
Campbell405462
Weakley398761
Giles391298
Henderson368375
Carroll355582
Macon354375
White351468
Hardin346166
Hardeman345063
Lauderdale312744
Henry309775
Marion307246
Scott303145
Claiborne302373
Overton294360
Wayne294134
Hickman278345
McNairy275354
DeKalb273953
Smith271737
Haywood267660
Grainger255449
Trousdale247822
Morgan242839
Fentress236346
Johnson226738
Chester208651
Bledsoe208211
Crockett199848
Polk196024
Unicoi191149
Cannon187531
Union184034
Grundy176431
Lake169526
Humphreys168721
Sequatchie165228
Benton160940
Decatur156438
Lewis154826
Meigs132123
Stewart129328
Jackson129235
Clay108331
Houston107333
Perry105628
Moore99217
Van Buren82621
Pickett75524
Hancock53612

Community Events