Judge will decide Thursday if Lionel Francis should get death penalty for killing young daughter


Lionel Francis

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Madison County Circuit Judge will decide Thursday if Lionel Francis will get the death penalty for killing his 20-month-old daughter.

Francis, 37, was convicted in May of capital murder in the death of Alexandria Francis. The child was shot in May 2016  at the family’s home on Lockwood Court.

Francis didn’t testify at this trial, but he told police the shooting was an accident.

The prosecution’s case included testimony from a state medical examiner who said the nature of the child’s wound indicated the gun was pressed tightly to her forehead before he pulled the trigger.

The child’s mother, Ashley Ross testified she was changing her clothes, with her back to Francis and her daughter when she heard the shot fired.

Ross’s testimony shook the courtroom at Francis’ trial, as prosecutors played her anguished 911 call pleading for medical attention.  The jury also heard her one phone conversation with Francis’ where she angrily dismissed his claims the shooting was an accident.

The jury deliberated about three hours before convicting Francis. The same jury later recommended, by an 11-1 vote that Francis receive the death penalty.

The final decision is with Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall.

The hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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