ALABAMA- Appeals court upholds pair of death sentences

May 26, 2012 Source :

An Alabama appeals court on Friday denied the appeals of two death row inmates, one from Montgomery County and the other from Jefferson County.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the death sentence of 33-year-old Shonelle Andre Jackson in the 1997 slaying of Lefrick Moore during a carjacking in Montgomery.

Jackson was accused of shooting Moore after a traffic accident, and then two other men took Moore’s car.

In his appeal, Jackson claimed misconduct by jurors. The appeal cited one juror whom Jackson’s appeal claimed did not inform the court during jury selection that he owned two guns.

Jackson also cited that another juror did not say during jury selection that she had several friends in the Montgomery Police Department.

Jackson also said in his appeal that the trial judge erred in overturning the jury’s sentencing recommendation that Jackson be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He also claimed that his attorney was ineffective in one phase of his trial.

The appellate court also upheld the death sentence given to 42-year-old Willie B. Smith III. Smith was convicted of the October 1991 slaying of Sharma Ruth Johnson, who was abducted while waiting to use a Birmingham ATM machine. She was later shot execution-style in a cemetery.

The court rejected Smith’s claims on appeal, including that he shouldn’t be executed because he is intellectually disabled and that his lawyers provided ineffective assistance at trial.

Both Smith and Jackson are on their second round of appeals.

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