Father Speaks After Daughter’s Accused Murderer Freed For Baptism

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – “I realize forgiving his soul is one thing, but still again you have to answer to the laws of the land also,” said Amanda Taylor’s father, Billy Leeth.

Ronald Weems has spent the last 10 months confined to a jail cell, until a decision to give his life to the Lord meant a trip outside the barbed wire fence.

“I’ve never heard of anybody carrying someone outside the jail, especially somebody accused and going on trial for murder,” said Leeth. 

When a picture surfaced on Facebook of Weems, surrounded by his loved ones during a baptism service at a nearby church, the image sent sorrow through Amanda Taylor’s family.

Leeth says he’s disappointed Weems had the conveniences of a free man, even for an hour.

“We’re not perfect, we still have feelings.  We struggle from day to day but the bottom line is, his soul, and I’m happy for that, but there again, as a father, people have to answer for the things they do,” said Leeth.

Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May said he was unaware about the baptismal service.  See Part 1 of this story.

“They have every right to be upset, because of what this man did to their daughter,” said Sheriff May.

However, according to Sheriff May, if an inmate commits to Christ, it’s common practice to escort inmates from the jail to a church.  But May admits, Weems’ family should not have been notified about the service or allowed to attend.

“It should not have happened,” said May.  “Once we learned about it we corrected the situation so it’s not going to happen again.”

Amanda’s father says he’s satisfied with the Sheriff’s pledge for policy change, and while this baptism brought up strong feelings for the Taylor family, Leeth says it’s that same heavenly Father who helps his family carry on as the legal process continues.

“Through the strength of God we make it day to day,” said Leeth. 

According to Sheriff May, the missionary who tipped off Weems’ family to the baptism has been suspended of his privileges at the jail.

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