MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — A man convicted of murder over 13 years ago in Lauderdale County has a parole hearing scheduled for July 19, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Norman Ernest Widdowson, now 58 years old, will have a chance at parole. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison for the murder of James Gregory Wright. Wright, 42, of Green Hill, was beaten and stabbed to death on January 27, 2007.
According to investigators at the time, they believed there was a disagreement between the two men over a $70 debt that may have served as a motive in the homicide.
Deputies with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) went to Wright’s home on County Road 130 on January 31, 2007. They found him dead inside the house with a laceration to his throat.
Widdowson was a resident of Iron City, Tennessee, having moved to the area from Maryland just a few months prior to the incident. He agreed to a plea deal in February 2009 with the District Attorney to cooperate in the cases against William David Nard and Greg Leon Nard, father and son, also both from Iron City.
Together, the three men were implicated in Wright’s death.
Widdowson had recently moved to Tennessee from Maryland, telling investigators at the time that he had only known the Nards for a short time before the murder.
Information confirmed to News 19 by LCSO says that Widdowson had spent the evening drinking and shooting pool with the Nards at their house.
The father and son convinced Widdowson to accompany them on a drive, and they wound up at Wright’s home.
Widdowson told authorities that he waited in the truck before deciding to go into the house where the Nards were with Wright. When Widdowson walked up to the door of the home, he said he ran into Wright as he was running out.
That’s when Widdowson said the Nards pulled Wright back into the house.
During the investigation, Widdowson said he couldn’t be sure which of the Nards was responsible for the wound that claimed Wright’s life. It just so happened that Greg Nard had dropped his cell phone during a struggle, LCSO confirmed.
The father and son were accusing the other during separate interrogations, with the third conflicting statement about the events of the night coming from Widdowson. The Nards both claimed Widdowson assisted in the murder and robbery.
At the time of their initial arrests, each man was placed in a different jail. Widdowson in Lauderdale County Detention Center, William Nard in the Franklin County Jail, and Greg Nard in the Walker County Jail. They were all denied bail.
Forensics eventually showed that all three men had been inside Wright’s home at some point. Blood found on the porch was proved to be William Nard’s, who was injured during the struggle.
Greg Nard pleaded guilty to killing Wright on August 4, 2009, in an attempt to avoid death by lethal injection. The then-27-year-old was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
49-year-old William Nard pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms with the possibility of parole.
Widdowson has served nearly 15 and a half years of his 20-year sentence.