Former Alabama Attorney General Charlie Graddick was named to head the Alabama Parole Board the day before the one-year anniversary of Guntersville’s July 13 triple homicide case, WHNT TV reported.
A man out on parole — whom authorities said later should have never been released from prison — was charged with capital murder in the case. The case led to reforms of the parole system in Alabama.
WHNT said Graddick’s new job is among several steps taken by Alabama governor Kaye Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and the Alabama Legislature in the aftermath of the deaths of 7-year-old Colton Lee, his great grandmother Marie Martin and neighbor Martha Reliford.
“The triple-homicide shocked the quiet community, the TV station said. “A recently paroled Alabama inmate, Jimmy O’Neal Spencer, was charged with the murders. The shock grew when an investigation revealed Spencer was serving a life sentence, and his former victims were not notified of his release. Spencer also fled from a halfway house after his release in January 2018, but no search for him was initiated. Then, he was charged with triple-murder last July.”
The Alabama legislature approved recommended reforms to the state parole system earlier this year.
Graddick is a 2-term attorney general and a former governor’s candidate and judge.
“The governor, attorney general and the public have made it clear that our Board of Pardons and Paroles must carry out their duties to ensure justice for victims and safety for all of our citizens,” Graddick said in a statement. “That means that we need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the operation and make necessary improvements to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency ... Serving in this capacity, I hope to leave Alabama a safer place to live and raise a family.”
Gov. Ivey called Graddick “the perfect choice” to put into action reforms to the parole system.
The group Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL) praised the choice of Graddick, saying he will bring a wealth of experience to his new role.