Friday, March 4, 2016

A New Sentence for Christie Scott?

Some call it “judicial override.” No matter what it’s called, a judge in Alabama doesn’t have to defer to a jury’s recommendation to sentence those convicted of Capital Murder to “Life Without.” Such was the case with Christie Bray Scott whom Franklin County Judge Terry Dempsey sentenced to death by lethal injection in August 2009.

Scott has spent over five years on Alabama’s death row; now she may have a chance to live her life out in slightly less confining circumstances. While it’s not a given that yesterday’s court ruling on Alabama’s sentencing policy will affect even one prisoner if the state appeals, the ruling has the potential to impact several death row inmates—Scott probably being the most high profile from northwest Alabama.

By all accounts, Scott is a schemer and a user; a cousin by marriage called her “just plain mean.” We predict she’ll be in her element if she’s granted the extra freedom that this ruling may bring.


Another capital crime to add to Alabama’s long list? While we support enhanced sentencing in any crime of domestic violence, we can’t support the addition of another capital crime as a current bill now considered in the legislature is proposes. Phillip Pettus has sponsored a bill that has many good points, but making a capital offense of the killing of a partner if a legally dependent child witnesses the crime is not advisable.

What about the child who sees a grandparent or aunt/uncle killed under these circumstances? Do they always suffer less? In today’s world many raise relative’s children without any legal document solidifying the arrangement. It often takes years to adopt a child, or even to obtain legal custody. The children involved don’t love their caretakers any less than those being raised by legal parents.

The list of capital crimes in Alabama doesn’t need to be as long as our state constitution—you know, that document the Republican legislature promised to overhaul section by section. Just look how well that’s going.


Speaking of capital crimes, the Tuesday night shooting of Ki-Jana Ray Freeman is considered a capital crime. The same is true of the Gary Baskins and Kayla Glover murders last year in Muscle Shoals. All three victims were shot inside a vehicle.

Someone out there knows something about both these shooting incidents. While Gov. Bentley didn’t deem the Baskins/Glover murders worthy an extra reward, there is still a basic Crime Stoppers award for any information. At least the same basic reward will be available in the Freeman killing, if not more. There’s also a substantial reward that includes funding from both the governor and the victim’s family in the death of Tuscumbia WWII veteran Elbert Farley Davis of Tuscumbia.

Help solve these four Colbert County murders. You can anonymously report to Crime Stoppers at 256-386-8685.


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