Editor’s Note: Some of the details in this article may be disturbing for some viewers.
MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Emotions flared in court Monday during the triple homicide trial against Jimmy O’Neal Spencer as prosecutors played a recording of his apparent confession.
Spencer, the now 57-year-old was charged in the deaths of Marie Martin, her great-grandson Colton Lee, and her neighbor Martha Reliford. He faces seven counts of capital murder in the case, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The prosecution is still presenting its case against Spencer. While the sixth day of the trial started by finishing up the testimony of one witness from Friday and questioning another, testimony took a turn during the third witness of the day, Retired Guntersville Police Officer Mike Turner.
Turner worked on the Spencer case before his retirement and described his original interview with Spencer with the court.
He said Spencer originally said another man had stolen Martin’s car and picked him up. Turner testified that Spencer said the man had asked him to drive because he was drunk. Turner claimed that Spencer told him the man said he burglarized Martin’s house but didn’t hurt anyone.
Turner testified that Spencer later told him he had been making up the other man and that police could stop looking for a suspect because “it was me.”
Prosecutors then played a recording of a statement from Spencer which prosecutors said held an alleged confession to the killings.
In the recording, Spencer can be heard explaining how he and his girlfriend were dealing with homelessness at the time. He could be heard saying that he had to steal to eat and showed remorse for what he had done.
“If I could’ve got the money any other kind of way I would’ve did it,” Spencer said.
Spencer then described how he hit Reliford with a hatchet several times and slit her throat to be sure she was dead. He also could be heard saying he stole about $600 at the time.
In the recording, Spencer said he eventually ran out of money and chose to target Martin because he had seen her before. He said he pretended to be returning lost mail to gain entry into the house and then bound both Martin and Lee.
Spencer recounted how Martin was killed and expressed remorse for involving Lee.
In the recording, Spencer can also be heard saying he hit Lee in the head with a hammer.
As the audio played in court one member of the jury and Spencer began to cry.
After describing the killings, Spencer could be heard saying: “I didn’t plan on killing either one of them, I panicked.”
In the recording, Spencer also said he used some of the stolen money to buy methamphetamine and was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crimes.
Testimony then started back with the prosecution continuing its questioning of Guntersville Chief Investigator John East. East began by discussing various pieces of physical evidence in Martin’s home, including paper towels, a white ear bud and a gas can that all had blood on them.
The audio ended and court concluded for the day. The trial is set to resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Marshall County Courthouse.
You can find the full details from court in the blog of Investigative Reporter Dallas Parker’s tweets down below.
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For a full recap of each previous day in court, click on the links below.