I-Team: Attorney advocates for victims' families in Jimmy Spencer case

"A system failure" is how an attorney describes the parole board releasing Jimmy Spencer from prison.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 5:31 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 2:14 PM

UPDATE: James received a response on Wednesday, and The Governor's General Council will meet with him before the Governor's meeting with the Pardons and Paroles Board.

Governor Ivey and the Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall, will be meeting with the board on October 15.

Attorney Tommy James Attorney Tommy James


"A system failure" is how an attorney describes the parole board releasing a now accused killer from prison.

Tommy James of Birmingham is representing the families of Colton Lee, Marie Martin and Martha Reliford. Jimmy Spencer, who was paroled just months before, is accused of killing them.

James wrote the offices of the Attorney General and the Governor a letter asking for the families' voices to be heard at an upcoming meeting.

Attorney Tommy James says flaws in the system led to Spencer being paroled. Spencer was supposed to be serving a life sentence for crimes he committed in Franklin County, but he only spent the better part of 30 years in prison.

"What happened to my clients family members is an example of what happens when a system breaks down and when individuals don't do their job," James said.

The Attorney General's office said Spencer was mislabeled in their system as a non-victim offender, and they didn't know about his violent past. State documents show multiple stabbings, assaults and fights in Spencer's prison record from 1994 to 2018. However, he was still paroled, because the board said he had a positive conduct record.

James said he wants speak with the Governor and the Attorney General on behalf of the families to hopefully spark a change in the system.

"He escaped three times. He was charged with assault. That is not a positive conduct record," James said. "Massive failures before and after parole. They are violating their own policies and procedures."

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