Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Accessories to Murder

In 2005, Joe Jones stood outside a store and watched for customers as a second man robbed, shot, and killed the clerk. Jones then took the gun used in the crime to the home he shared with his mother and hid it in his bedroom. Joe Jones admitted these facts under questioning of both the police and, at his trial, the Lauderdale County District Attorney.

In 1998, John Smith drove to a business on the request of his brother. Smith claimed he waited in his truck as his younger sibling entered to ask for money supposedly owned him. When his brother exited the building, he was carrying a broken knife and soaked with blood stains. Smith, under the influence of alcohol, then drove his brother to a bar where they both spent the money the younger brother had stolen from the man he killed. Forensics could not disprove Smith's story during his trial, an account that the man still adamantly claims is true.

Which man was charged with and indicted for Felony Murder and which for Capital Murder?

Before you answer that question, let us state that no one here thinks any of the four young men involved in these two murders is an angel. We also think it's a strong possibility that John Smith was and is lying when he stated he did not enter the business where his brother admitted killing the proprietor; however, since there was no evidence connecting him to the actual killing, we cannot be sure of his guilt. We cannot in good conscience unequivocally link him to the murder as some members of the victim's family have.

The above accounts are cited to prove that justice isn't equal for everyone. Over six years separated these Lauderdale County murders, as well as the election of a new District Attorney. Steve Graham asked for and received an indictment of Capital Murder for John Smith, who is in reality Eric Boyd. A jury convicted Boyd of the lesser charge of Felony Murder, allowing him to be paroled at some point. Chris Connolly stated it could not be proved that Joe Jones had murderous intent; a jury did convict Jones, who is in reality Duwon Jones, of Felony Murder, allowing an admitted participant in the murder to be eligible for parole.

Now Duwon Jones' partner in crime has been afforded a new trial. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has stated errors on the part of both Chris Connolly and Judge Mike Jones in referencing David Riley's juvenile record.

No, justice is never equal. Neither Duwon Jones nor David Riley deserves to see the free world again.


Sources report that David Saccocci, the Littleville police officer arrested Saturday after an 11 hour standoff is a Rhode Island native and a 1997 graduate of Burrillville High School. He, along with his wife, and young daughter have been Colbert County residents for a short period of time.

The source further states that Saccocci has been charged with making terrorist threats due to statements made in the presence of his estranged wife's family. He also threatened to kill himself before being overcome with tear gas and taken to a local hospital.

The area needs more police officers--just not ones like David Saccocci. Not only will Littleville remember this incident for years to come, unfortunately so will his daughter.