Man Convicted In 2001 Murders Wants New Trial

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) - A Jackson County man sentenced to die for the killings of three people in 2001 is asking for a new trial. 

Wednesday, James Brownfield's attorneys appeared before Jackson County Circuit Judge Jennifer Holt to say their client did not get a fair trial.

L to R: James Brownfield pictured in 2001, then in 2007. (Photos: Scottsboro Police Department, Alabama Department of Corrections)

The murders happened on December 24, 2001.  Two people were killed in a home on Wallace Avenue in Scottsboro.  The community was shocked because it happened on Christmas Eve, and because it also involved a three-year-old boy who was beaten to death with a hammer.

Joshua Hodges, 3, died inside the home along with his grandmother, 47-year-old Brenda Whitehead McCutchin.  Joshua's grandfather, 64-year-old Latham Durwood McCutchin, died at another location.

Joshua Hodges

Brenda McCutchin was Brownfield's sister.

Brownfield's attorneys, Peter Harvey and Chad Peterman, argued Wednesday that their client had ineffective counsel during his capital murder trial, and said he deserves a new trial. 

Brownfield was not in court.  He remains on death row at Donaldson Prison.

He was 27 at the time of the murders.

In 2009, the Alabama Supreme Court refused to overturn Brownfield's conviction, saying the evidence was overwhelming.

There's no word on when Judge Holt will rule on Brownfield's motions. 

The Alabama Attorney General's office is handling the case for the prosecution.