Guntersville triple murder suspect walked away from court-mandated program after early release

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - Police say a man charged with killing three people in Guntersville was on the streets in their city instead of in Birmingham at the facility the state sent him to.

We are still working to uncover who was responsible for keeping track of Jimmy O'Neal Spencer, the Guntersville triple murder suspect, after his release from prison. The Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed it is up to the board of pardons and paroles to ensure a person is not violating his/her parole.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles confirmed he was initially paroled to L.I.F.E. Tech. When that facility did not have room for him, they paroled him to Jimmie Hale Mission's Shepura Men's Center in Birmingham.

The mission confirmed he was there from January 23 through February 13 before walking out. It's a four-month to year-long faith-based program. The mission said he left early, and Guntersville Police said there were no active warrants for him at the time of his arrest.

The board requires a parolee to finish the court-ordered program or he/she is in violation of parole.

Once in violation, a parole officer has the parolee sign a waiver form. Once approved, the person goes into a 2-3 day period of confinement in prison, if the violation is appropriate. Sometimes the violation is severe enough, it leads to a parole revocation.

If a parolee refuses this confinement, they can request a parole court hearing within 10 days. Then, the person will appear before the parole court for a hearing, which is supposed to happen within 20 business days.

However, according to the board, if a parole officer believes the public would be endangered if the person was not held for a court hearing, the officer may issue an "authorization to arrest" and the parolee would be held in a local county jail.

As we reported yesterday, Spencer was released because he had a low-to-medium risk of re-offending, and showed positive institutional conduct, according to the Board Action Sheet for Spencer. However, the Department of Corrections said he was convicted of Second-degree of Assault of An Inmate and escaped prison three times.

The pardons and parole board requires a home and job plan in place before a prisoner is released. However, Guntersville Police said he was homeless and jobless, and living in their city.

Spencer is currently in the Marshall County Jail. He faces four counts of capital murder.