Thursday, December 24, 2009

Who Murdered Little Miss Sunbeam's Killer? - Part V

Judge Mike Suttle took the charges of prosecutorial misconduct in the Donald Darling murder trial so seriously that he ordered a jury trial in the matter; however, the Lauderdale District Attorney's office appealed the ruling and won. Now, Darling was to face a second trial for the murder of Wilburn May Jr.

By May 2004, Darling had been released on bond, and Lauderdale District Attorney Steve Graham had resigned. Graham's successor, then Republican Billy Jackson, knew the Darling family socially and recused his office from the second trial. Even Judge Suttle's role was questioned due to his announced support of Darling's defense attorney Chris Connolly, Jackson's Democratic opponent in the upcoming election. Suttle refused to step down and presided over Darling's second trial, now moved to Decatur.

During the trial, the defense team introduced evidence that included an alibi for Darling and accusations against one of May's ex-wives as well as a known drug associate who had not been seen since May's murder. On July 23, 2004, a Morgan County jury found Donald Wayne Darling II not guilty of the murder of Junior May. Suttle then authorized protection for the Darling family as they left the courthouse due to alleged threats from the May family. Darling himself spoke of his relief to have an unencumbered future.

What did Donald Darling do with his freedom? Less than four months later, the now 20 year-old Darling was accused of attempting to break into a condom vending machine at a Central Heights mini-mart. He pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor charge. Two years later, Darling was arrested for breaking into a convenience store to steal cigarettes; a short time later an intoxicated Darling was arrested by an observant off-duty deputy immediately after breaking into a truck in the Central community.

Do Darling's post acquittal criminal actions indicate he was in reality guilty of killing Junior May? They certainly indicate Donald Wayne Darling II placed little value on his freedom. As for who did murder Little Miss Sunbeam's killer, one of the strangest cases in Shoals crime history is still officially open.

What's up with this: Does Parker Griffith morphing from Democrat to Republican cancel out Billy Jackson changing his affiliation from Republican to Democrat?