Lonnie Bailey’s guilty plea brings closure to 10-year old Lawrence County murder case

Lonnie Bailey is led from the Lawrence County Judicial Center Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

Lonnie Bailey is led from the Lawrence County Judicial Center Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – A 10-year old Lawrence County capital murder case came to a close Wednesday. Lonnie Bailey plea of guilty to a reduced charge of murder and was immediately sentenced to 20 years in prison. His brother, Wayne Bailey, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“Anything you want to say or anything you’d say to the victim’s family?”

Lonnie Bailey replied, “Yes, I’m very sorry for their loss. Very much. Thank you, sir.”

And with that, Bailey away from the Lawrence County Judicial Center late Wednesday morning. He will be transferred back to state prison to serve a 20-year-sentence for murder, minus time already served.

Bailey, along with his brother Wayne, were convicted of capital murder for the January, 2004, robbery and murder of 71-year-old Melvin Key. Both men were convicted in separate trials, but Lonnie Bailey’s conviction was overturned. Rather than face a new trial, he chose to enter a guilty plea. Despite the reduced charge and sentence, it was still difficult for Bailey’s family to accept.

“I want him to come home because I really need ‘em, you know. And I really appreciate you talking to us, I really do,” said Cathy Griffin, Bailey’s sister.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office handled this aspect of the case. Andrew Arrington declined to speak on camera but told WHNT News 19 the guilty plea was in everyone’s best interest.

“Mr. Key’s family has been through two trials already and looking at the possibility of a third trial. Both families have been through so much,” says Bailey’s defense attorney Chris Malcom.

Prosecutors say they hope this brings the victim’s family some closure.

Lonnie Bailey’s conviction was overturned due to inadmissible evidence being presented to the jury. Bailey’s sister indicates attorneys are looking at Wayne Bailey’s case for a possible appeal on the same grounds. We’ll update you if the conviction is challenged.

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