MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – This year saw the first Madison County defendant to receive a death sentence since 2008.
Lionel Francis, who was convicted of shooting his 2-year-old daughter, was given a death sentence in July.
Benito Albarran was the last defendant to receive the death penalty in Madison County. Albarran was sentenced in 2008 for the 2005 shooting death of Huntsville Police Department officer Daniel Golden. Albarran died by suicide in 2015.
Marc Stone and Francis both faced the possibility of a death sentence in 2019. Stone was charged with killing his wife and 7-year-old son in south Huntsville in 2012. The defense argued Stone was mentally ill and while a jury convicted him in February, he was given a life sentence without parole.
Francis told police the gun accidentally went off in the May 2016 shooting death of his daughter. In June, the jury convicted him within a few hours. A few days later, the jury voted to give him a death sentence, which was formally ordered by Judge Ruth Ann Hall in July.
Madison County jurors could face a number of similar decisions in 2020. The court docket currently includes three death penalty cases and three more could be scheduled in the coming months.
Warren Hardy is set to go on trial in April for the shooting death of 72-year-old Kathleen Lundy during a crime spree in August 2016.
A married couple, Christopher Henderson and Rhonda Carlson are due to go on trial separately next year for the killing of five people, including Henderson’s other wife, who was nine months pregnant, two young children and his mother-in-law.
Henderson’s trial is set for June. Carlson’s is set for October.
Two men charged with a double-murder, Yoni Aguilar and Israel Palomino, don’t yet have trial dates, but the cases could be heard later in the year. They are charged in a drug-cartel linked murder of a Huntsville woman and her granddaughter in June 2018.
Otis Mayes has a court date on Jan. 23, where a trial date could be set. He is charged with killing two women in Five Points in 2017.
Prosecutors have not yet said if they will seek the death penalty for LaJeromeny Brown, who is charged with killing Huntsville Police Officer Billy Clardy. The case is not likely to go to trial for some time. The last two cases involving the killing of an HPD officer took about three years from the time of the arrest to the trial date.