Man charged in Guntersville triple homicide has extensive criminal past

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala - Jimmy Spencer remains in the Marshall County Jail charged with four counts of capital murder in the deaths of three people on Mulberry Street Friday.

Guntersville police say Spencer killed Marie Martin and 7-year-old great-grandson Colton Friday. Investigators think that Marie was watching over Colton when it appears that Spencer came into the home and killed them both.

The Marshall County D.A. said Wednesday Spencer knew one of the murder victims.

Police say he also killed a third person, Martha Reliford, who also lives on Mulberry Street. During a press conference Tuesday, authorities said Spencer had recently been released from prison. Burglary charges are what brought him into the prison system.

But according to the information WHNT News 19 obtained from the state's website Alacourt, he didn't stop committing crimes while he was behind bars.

When we searched Alacourt for "Jimmy O'Neal Spencer," several theft charges and one unlawful breaking and entering charge show updating back to 1993. But the system says no case detail available about those charges.

He didn't stop committing crimes after that. In the same year, he was charged with first-degree escape. The state filed an intention to prosecute under the habitual felony offender act.

In 2003, Spencer was charged with second-degree assault. His address was the Donaldson Correctional Facility. This charge came with an imposed confinement period of 15 years.

"Mr. Spencer is from Franklin County. He spent a number of years in the state prison system," Marshall County Chief Investigator John Young said.

It isn't clear when Spencer was released from prison, but law enforcement officials do not believe he had been out for very long when he came to Guntersville.

"And how he got here, we're not totally sure. Been here for a short period of time sleeping on park benches occasionally in motel rooms," said Young.

Authorities say he began living in Guntersville in January of this year. The district attorney said Tuesday they know Spencer had been in the neighborhood of the murders before and had visited murder victim Martha Reliford or another person at the home.

On July 13, he was arrested on several different charges including driving without a license, no insurance, and an open container violation.