ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a surprise ruling Monday, reversing the murder conviction of Kevin Towles, the man initially found guilty of the murder of a young child.
Towles was sentenced to death row for the murder of 5-year-old Geontae Glass.
The appeals court reversed the conviction because it ruled the testimony of Towles’ son was inadmissible. During Towles’ trial, his son testified Towles had abused him as well. However, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that evidence could not be used against Towles because he was never charged or convicted of that abuse.
Investigators and prosecutors were shocked by the court’s move, which sends it back to the lower court.
“Facts in this case have not changed. The evidence gathered by our investigators is confirmation of the guilty verdict that was issued by the court and I am confident that the same verdict will be found if this case is to be retried again,” said Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the ruling handed down by the Court of Criminal Appeals. However, we respect their authority,” said Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp. “I have spoken to the Attorney General’s Office today, who customarily represents the State of Alabama for cases on appeal, and they have assured me that they will immediately file a motion for a rehearing. I am hopeful that the State will prevail. If called upon, the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office stands ready to retry the case. I think it’s important to consider that as the case was tried before the jury, that the testimony that was the subject of the reversal was relevant and admissible under Alabama case law as it existed at that time. Obviously, the Court of Criminal Appeals, by this decision, wishes to depart from the previous interpretation of the law.”
Investigators say Towles, the boyfriend of Geontae’s mother Shalinda Glass, beat Geontae to death in 2006 after he came home with a bad school report. Prosecutors say Shalinda did nothing to stop the beating.
In March 2012, Shalinda Glass pleaded guilty to her son’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She was initially charged with capital murder, but prosecutors said her involvement in the crime did not rise to the same level as Towles’, so her charge was lessened to murder from capital murder.