The long-awaited trial for Jimmy O’Neal Spencer is set to begin in October.

Spencer is charged with the murders of Colton Lee, 7, his great-grandmother Marie Martin, and her neighbor Martha Reliford in Guntersville in mid-July 2018.

His trial was initially set for April but was continued after the court was made aware of testing to be performed on Spencer that wouldn’t be complete by the trial date, according to court records.

Spencer will now face a jury on Oct. 17, 2022, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Marshall County Courthouse in Guntersville.

Spencer – who faces seven counts of capital murder – could face the death penalty if convicted.

Spencer has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of Martin, Lee and Reliford. Martin was stabbed and strangled, and the child died from blunt force trauma, while Reliford was struck with a hatchet and stabbed.

Spencer was ruled mentally competent to stand trial earlier this year.

Spencer was initially sent to prison in the 1980s on multiple convictions and was granted parole and released in January 2018, authorities have said. He was supposed to stay at a halfway house in Birmingham for six months, but left after only a few weeks.

Spencer then travelled to Guntersville before the slayings took place.

Spencer is believed to have allegedly killed the three victims for money.. Marshall County District Attorney Everette Johnson said Spencer was sleeping on park benches most nights, but then became familiar with the victims’ neighborhood at Mill Village in Guntersville. Johnson said as Spencer ran out of money, he allegedly attempted to rob the victims. Reliford, the first victim, was killed some unknown amount of time before the second and third victims, Martin and Lee. Autopsy reports showed Reliford died after being struck with the “flat end of a hatchet” and then stabbed. Spencer allegedly took an unspecified amount of money, Johnson said. Spencer allegedly chose Martin as his next target. Martin was strangled and then stabbed according to autopsy reports. Colton, who was visiting his great grandmother, died from blunt force trauma according to autopsy reports.

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