'We want justice:’ Trial set for Guntersville triple murder suspect Jimmy Spencer

The trial will take place January 10, 2022.

Posted: Jun 8, 2021 3:42 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2021 6:37 PM

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the man accused of killing 3 people in Guntersville while free on parole.

Jimmy Spencer is facing more than half a dozen capital murder charges for the deaths of 7-year-old Colton Lee, his great-grandmother Marie Martin and their neighbor Martha Reliford.

Spencer appeared in court for the first time in more than a year Tuesday for a status hearing.

The judge announced Spencer is mentally competent to go to trial, which is expected to take place January 10, 2022. The victim's families were visibly upset it's not happening sooner.

"I hope they kill him. I would love to see him plugged up dead," Dorothy Hayes said.

She wants justice for her sister Martha Reliford.

"She's been dead 3 years and they should have done have that trial," Hayes said.

"We want the same thing. We want justice," Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson said.

With a trial date now set, attorneys are now working on ways to ensure a fair trial.

The judge says they will summon 450 potential jurors because of the case's notoriety and the recent increase in jury summons absences.

The summons are expected to be sent out 30 days before Spencer's trial is set to begin.

Johnson says they lost a year because of the pandemic, but for the most part everything's moved rather quickly.

"Being tried in our area that's not a long time for a capital case of this magnitude, where there are three victims, three separate murders," Johnson explained.

Right now, attorneys are working on a questionnaire to narrow down the jury and ensure a fair trial. It's expected to be finalized this november.

Johnson says he's not worried about the increase of jury summons absences caused by the pandemic.

"We are having people who are responding well to jury summons," Johnson said. "We always have a sufficient number of jurors to do business."

He adds they're doing everything they can to try to lift the victim's families burden.

"We are certainly seeking justice as quickly as we can," Johnson said.

Attorneys expect spencer’s trial to last 2 to 3 weeks. The victim's families are now anxious for that day to come to finally get justice for their loved ones.

"It's been a living hell every day. We've had to suffer every day knowing what she went through," Hayes said.

Hayes did go up to the judge asking him why prosecutors aren't charging more people they believe might be involved in their sister's murder. The district attorney says they're investigation was very thorough, and they don't expect any more charges in the case. The judge suggested the family reach out to the state or FBI.

Jimmy Spencer was out on parole when the murders took place.

Our WAAY 31 I-team uncovered Spencer remained a violent man while in prison and was arrested while out on parole. However, he was never sent back to prison. Our investigations lead to new leadership on the state parole board and new laws to hold its members accountable. You can find more information on our investigations here.

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