Road to execution long for victims' families

By Jeanie Powell - bio | email
Posted by Dana Franks - email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Christie Scott will join four other women on death row in the state of Alabama. But there's a long time ahead until that execution date comes.

The judge's decision is in no way immediate and it could take at least 10 years until it's enacted. The case will travel through many courts and it's another long road for victim's families wanting to put it to rest.

Jason Michael Sharp is one of the 202 inmates who sits on Alabama's death row, awaiting a date of execution that hasn't been set. Ralph Morris is the father of the woman he raped and killed.

Morris told WAFF 48 News, "She was definitely my baby."

Tracy Lynn Morris was murdered in January 1999. It took more than 7 1/2 years for her case to go to trial and in September of 2006, Sharp was sentenced to death. But initial elation turned into a waiting game.

"It's frustrating because after the satisfaction up front with the sentencing, then you go into a waiting mode that could last up to 30 years," Ralph Morris said.

The Morrises have to relive the difficult emotions attached to their daughter's killer. Every time there's movement in the case, there is a call or letter from Montgomery.

"It's frustrating at times because this guy is going to get an ungodly number of appeals and these appeals may be meaningless, they may might not be meaningless," Ralph Morris said. "Most of them are just blowing into the wind, trying to come up with something, that somebody would say, 'Oh yeah, you need a new trial,' or something of that nature."

He's frustrated that the convicted seems to have more rights than the victim.

"If the victim is dead, the Tracy's of the world don't have a life," he said. "They've lost their life, can't be replaced, you can't rewind the tape."

He doesn't think Sharp deserves to live because of what he did to his daughter. He's distressed over information he received about a website hosted out of Germany where Sharp can meet women.

WAFF 48 News spoke to Clay Krenshaw, chief of the state's capital litigation division, who said the death penalty process is a lengthy one.

"It involves 10 courts, so if things run smoothly and they rarely do, I mean you're looking at probably 10 years," Krenshaw said. "Once the case goes through those three stages of reviews which involves 10 courts, the Attorney General's office can request an execution date at that point."

And until that point, family members like Ralph Morris will wait.

When asked if he will attend Sharp's execution if it occures, he responded, "If I'm able to be there, you're darn right I will."

More than three dozen cases on death row are cases where a jury recommended life without parole, but that's only a recommendation. The judge has the final say.

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