One year after Guntersville triple murder, the city is still shocked

Northeast Alabama
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – 7-year-old Colton Lee, his great-grandmother, Marie Martin, and their neighbor Martha Reliford’s bodies were found one year ago Saturday in their house on Mulberry Street.

The families of these victims are still mourning the loss of their loved ones, and the community is still shocked.

Cory Brown says he’s lived in Guntersville for years, and he never would have expected this triple murder to happen in his city.

“These innocent lives were taken, there were that woman and the little boy. There was no need for that. Just some crazy guy,” said Brown, “I don’t even know what he got out of the situation, you know, it wasn’t worth two lives, not by any means.”

Brown says one of his friends was related to Martin, she was his friend’s grandmother, and 7-year-old Lee was his niece.

Brown says he watched the community come together to help his friend through this time.

“Everybody’s kind of come together through this situation… My buddy, everybody tried to look out for him and stuff. It was a pretty tragic incident. Everybody was upset, so they all came together as a community,” said Brown.

Since the triple murders happened on July 13th, 2018 Jimmy O’Neal Spencer has been charged with multiple counts of capital murder in connection to their deaths.

He was out of parole when of the murders, which is something lawmakers say should have never happened.

Spencer was serving a life sentence when he was released early.

After the deaths, Governor Kay Ivey signed an executive order to stop the early release of inmates in October.

Then during the legislative session, Ivey signed a bill to strengthen the parole board regulations.

“We’ve changed the law to prevent early parole to serious offenders like that because the main job of the pardons and paroles boards is to protect public safety,” said Governor Ivey.

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