Capital murder trial starts for suspect in 2015 crime spree, co-defendant pleads guilty

DECATUR, Ala. - A jury will spend the next several days listening to witnesses and attorneys as they determine the fate of Cortez Mitchell.

The 19-year-old is one of four young men police say gunned down Antonio Hernandez, 27, and Joshua Davis, 25. During their crime spree, police say they also committed multiple armed robberies. Mitchell, as well as Amani Goodwin, Cedric Cowan, and Joseph Cowan were arrested in May 2015, all charged with eleven felonies, including capital murder.

The four were between ages 16-20 at the time of the violent acts, and have all been denied youthful offender status.

Mitchell's trial was first to be scheduled, starting Monday. He pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect. During his youthful offender hearing, a psychologist testified his IQ was 70 and he has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.

One of the co-defendants has accepted a plea deal.

Amani Goodwin entered a guilty plea to two counts of felony murder and three counts of first degree robbery.Goodwin was sentenced to life sentences on each felony murder count and 20 years for each robbery count.  All sentences will run concurrently.

If convicted by jury, Goodwin would not be eligible for parole. Due to the court accepting his plea deal, he will be eligible for parole in the future.

In exchange for the pleas, he has to testify against the co-defendants, Cortez Mitchell and brothers Joseph and Cedric Cowan.   The trials for the Cowan brothers, who will be tried separately, have not yet been scheduled.

Prosecutors say if Joseph Cowan is convicted, they will pursue the death penalty. He's the only one eligible for the death penalty because he was 20 at the time of the killings while the others were minors.