Lawyer for Guntersville murder victims’ families feels state’s top agencies understood concerns surrounding Spencer’s parole

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Birmingham-based attorney Tommy James met with Governor Kay Ivey's legal team, and the chief deputy attorney general on Friday morning, regarding what he believes are the failures within the parole system.

“I had the opportunity this morning to meet in Montgomery with the Governor’s legal team, and the Chief Deputy Attorney General, to discuss the lapses that occurred that led to the brutal murders of my clients’ loved ones in Guntersville that were committed by parolee Jimmy O’Neal Spencer," James said.

James added that he felt heard and validated by those in the meeting.

“They listened to my clients’ unique perspectives and how they have been completely devastated by the loss of their innocent loved ones, due to a flawed system and people simply not doing their jobs," James said. " My clients want to know how there could have been so many failures that led to their loved ones’ murders. They also want to hold these agencies accountable to ensure that change is made so that this does not happen to anyone else again.”

The Board of Pardons and Paroles meets on Monday morning. Governor Ivey will meet with the board and Attorney General Steve Marshall during that time.

“I feel like it was a good meeting," James said of Friday morning. "We agreed that we would talk again during the next few days after they receive more information from the Board and others. The Governor’s Counsel told me that my clients’ loved ones’ deaths brought attention to obvious problems that allowed Spencer to be paroled and then remain a free man after parole to commit these murders.  He said that they are looking at broader problems in the system that also need to be addressed.”

The attorney added in a statement, he hopes the meetings and dialogue create change that positively impacts the state going forward.

“We have agreed to meet again in the very near future to discuss how to proceed to ensure that my clients obtain the justice that they seek for their family members and to hold the wrongdoers responsible for their failures that directly led to these tragic deaths,” James said. “These people need to accept responsibility  for their multiple failures and to be held accountable for their actions and inactions that caused these three innocent people’s deaths.”

Governor Ivey's office also released a statement following Friday's meeting.

"Governor Ivey's legal team met with Mr. James this morning where they discussed the ongoing issues at the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Mr. James provided useful information that Governor Ivey will take into consideration as she meets with the Attorney General and Board on Monday, to discuss how those issues can be resolved."

The Attorney General's Office also sent a statement following the morning meeting.

"The Attorney General is extremely concerned that necessary precautions be taken to prevent the release of dangerous inmates into our communities. We appreciate the opportunity to hear the concerns of victims and look forward to meeting with the Governor and representatives of the Board of Pardons and Paroles to examine how these issues may be addressed to better protect the people of Alabama."