MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The jury trial against a Birmingham man charged in the 2018 Guntersville triple murder heads into its fifth day on Friday.
Spencer, 57, is charged in the deaths of Marie Martin, her great-grandson Colton Lee, and her neighbor Martha Reliford in July 2018. He faces seven counts of capital murder in the case and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The second day of testimony, fifth day of trial, began with the judge warning the courtroom that some images in evidence were going to be graphic. As testimony started up, the day focused mainly on members of law enforcement as they worked the case.
The witness called Friday was Guntersville Patrol Officer Jeff Hall, who said he was told to be on the lookout for Martin’s car, which was missing from her home. The officer said he ultimately found it in a Publix parking lot. He also testified that there was video footage linking Spencer to the car.
The second witness of the day was Investigator Joe Parrish with the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), who processed the scene at Reliford’s home.
Parrish walked the jury through the disarray in Reliford’s home. He said Reliford’s body was found near a medical bed in the living room. Parrish said furniture had been turned over and a Camel cigarette butt was found in the toilet.
He also described the condition of Reliford’s body. Previous witnesses had testified that Reliford had clearly been dead for several days, but Parrish gave more detail, saying the body was in an advanced stage of decomposition when found.
The investigator also noted the presence of a large number of insects in the house. As Parrish testified the prosecution shared grim photos of the scene the investigator encountered that day.
After answering the prosecution’s questions, Parrish was briefly cross-examined by the defense, though only to clarify some of his credentials.
The third witness of the day was Guntersville Chief Investigator John East. He said he came to the scene knowing three people had been killed and that a fourth, ultimately unrelated person had been reported dead a mile away.
East said Martin’s house was also in a state of disarray. He said cabinets had been left open and the content of a jewelry box had been sprawled out on a bed.
East said Martin was found with her arms bound behind her back with a cell phone charging cord, bruising around her neck and an injury to her head. He also said a bloodied hammer was found near Lee’s body.
The prosecution then asked East about the hammer and a coat hanger which was also nearby. The Chief Investigator pointed out the blood on both items to the jury. East also pointed out that Lee had suffered from head trauma, while showing the jury pictures from the scene.
The judge allowed the court to recess for the remainder of the day, citing the Guntersville homecoming parade that would pass by the courthouse.
Note: You can read all the details from court in our live blog down below. Chief Investigative Reporter Brian Lawson has been in court all morning.
For a full recap of each previous day in court, click on the links below.
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