No board requirement to tell victims, district attorney about Spencer’s parole hearing based on burglary convictions

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- WHNT News 19 learned the reason the Franklin County District Attorney and Jimmy O'Neal Spencer's burglary victims were not entitled to a notification for the November 2, 2017 parole hearing.

Article 4 of the board's Rules, Regulations and Procedures states "the Victims Unit shall have the primary responsibility for identifying and locating these individuals the Board is required by law to exercise due diligence to locate - victims of homicides, class A felonies, excluding Burglary I where no victim was present, and criminal sex offenses."

Spencer spent much of the last three decades in prison, in part for burglary convictions; however, they were 2nd and 3rd-degree convictions. The Alabama Department of Corrections provided this narrative on Spencer's crimes to WHNT News 19:

“Spencer, 52, was first sentenced to prison in July 1984 to one year for third-degree burglary in Franklin County.  Later he was charged and convicted of a prison escape in September 1984 and received a 10-year sentence.   Spencer again received another 10-year sentence to run consecutively with his prior sentences for a second escape conviction in May 1985.

 “Spencer was paroled by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles in July 1988.   His parole was revoked in January 1989 for a second-degree burglary conviction in Franklin County.  He received a life sentence in February 1990 following the conviction.

 “Spencer again escaped from prison on March 14, 1993, and was recaptured May 16, 1993.   He was charged and convicted of unlawful breaking and entering a vehicle and third-degree burglary during his escape and received two 16-year sentences for each conviction to run consecutively with his life sentence.”

 “While serving his prison sentence, Spencer was charged and convicted of second-degree assault of an inmate and received a 15-year sentence.

 “Spencer received a second parole from the Board of Pardons and Paroles and was released from prison on January 22, 2018.”

WHNT News 19 reached out to District Attorney Joey Rushing on Monday afternoon.

"We were so familiar with Mr. Spencer that any local officer that was around at the time he was committing these crimes could have written a letter opposing his parole," Rushing said.