COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — With Brian Lansing Martin out of the hospital and in jail, a community that continues to grieve is one step closer to seeing justice served for Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner and William Mealback Jr.
However, many in that same community are outraged over the decision to relocate Martin to the Morgan County Jail in Decatur.
Sheriff Frank Williamson said the decision is in part for Martin’s safety because the shootout last Friday also involved a deputy.
“If something did happen to him, we can’t look like that we’re setting anything up to do anything to him,” Williamson said.
The sheriff said all inmates must be protected no matter the crime. He added there is another continuing issue that led to the relocation.
“They’ve got a place that they can isolate him, and we don’t,” he said.
The sheriff said that doesn’t mean he’s getting any special treatment. He said Martin will be treated the same there as he would in Colbert County.
“At the end of the day, we need a new jail,” Williamson said. “If we had a bigger jail, we might have a place to put him, but right now we don’t have that; we’re in the process of getting that.”
In addressing the public’s anger, Williamson said Martin still has constitutional rights and law enforcement officers are sworn to protect those rights.
“We feel the same way as a lot of the general public does but we have a job to do and we are sworn to do that job and at the end of the day, we will get in trouble if we don’t do that and if we do anything other than that then we’re putting ourselves on that level, on his level.”
Sheriff Williamson said the timeline for the completion of the new Colbert County Jail is two to three years. If Martin hasn’t gone to trial by then, he’ll be transferred back to Colbert County.
Thursday afternoon, Colbert County District Attorney Bryce Graham said he is seeking the death penalty for Martin.