We find Ana Franklin and Judge Howell's behavior before and after Kay Stevens death a disgrace and a black eye to our county. DA Anderson's actions have brought renewed faith in our county.
Our no-show defunct sheriff partied Friday - Sunday at Biloxi, Mississippi and was the life of the party. Once she gets back into town she can't make it into work. How is it that you have an abundance of energy when it comes to travel and playing with horses with your favorites but you can't come to work to perform the mission the citizens entrusted you with?
Roger Stevens now charged with capital murder in ex-wife's slaying
Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2016 12:15 am | Updated: 12:52 am, Thu Jan 28, 2016.
By Keith Clines Staff Writer | 0 comments
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson has taken an unusual path to upgrade Roger Stevens’ murder charge to capital murder in the killing of his ex-wife.
The charge was changed to capital murder Wednesday based on a claim by Anderson that Roger Stevens committed second-degree burglary when he entered the Corner Bakery and Eatery in November and shot Kay Stevens to death.
Under Alabama code. a person commits second-degree burglary “if he or she knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit theft or a felony” in the building.
“The facts fit that he went into the business to commit a crime and that crime was a murder,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who is in his sixth year as district attorney, said he has never used this tactic to charge someone with capital murder, and he is unaware of it being used in Morgan County in his 25 years of practicing law.
Defense attorney John Mays said he will file a motion today for a preliminary hearing on the new charges for the prosecutors to provide evidence that a burglary occurred.
If a new preliminary hearing is held, a judge will have to decide if there is sufficient evidence that a burglary was committed to send the case to a grand jury.
“I think in this case the state has a severe evidence problem,” Mays said. “It is difficult to prove the burglary of a business if you enter through the front door of that business and no one tries to prevent your entry.”
Mays said prosecutors never mentioned burglary at Stevens’ Dec. 22 preliminary hearing on the original murder charge.
“You did not hear the word burglary,” Mays said. “You did not hear the phrase breaking and entering. You did not hear the phrase forcible entry.”
Mays declined to say if he thought the capital murder charge was a reach. He said he wants to know if police investigators found evidence of a burglary after the December preliminary hearing that would warrant the capital murder charge.
Stevens, 64, has been held in Morgan County Jail with bail set at $250,000 since he was arrested a few hours after Kay Stevens, 62, was killed Nov. 14. A hearing is set for Monday on a defense motion to reduce the bail. But, Mays said, that hearing will not be held now because bail is not available for a capital murder charge.
Anderson said the timing of the new charges had nothing to do with the upcoming bail reduction hearing.
“We would have done this regardless,” he said.
Anderson said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty if Stevens is charged, tried and convicted of capital murder. The only other sentencing option for capital murder is life in prison without the chance of parole.
If a jury were to find Stevens not guilty of burglary, it would eliminate the possibility of a conviction of capital murder, both Anderson and Mays said. The jury would then have to consider the lesser charge of murder.
Kay Stevens was shot twice and died from the gunshots and blunt force trauma to her head, police testified at the preliminary hearing.
Roger and Kay Stevens’ divorce became final the day before she was killed. They had been married 42 years.
Keith Clines can be reached at 256-340-2438 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @DD_KeithClines.