Families of murder victims frustrated over backlog in trials
“People need closure, you know. This needs to be done with and over with so people can move on with their lives,”
LAWRENCE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - It’s been eight years since a capital murder case was tried in Lawrence County. Currently, there are six pending capital murder cases. The pandemic has created a backlog in trials nationwide, but Lawrence County families are still waiting for justice to be served.
Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett says the pandemic did not help this backlog of cases, but there’s more that goes into it.
“We’ve got one circuit judge here and so that adds to it of course. My office, I’ve got one and a half prosecutors, I’ve got one full time, one part-time. We’re the last funded office in the state,” said Jett.
Some of those cases include the murder of a toddler, a man burned alive, and a double murder of a father and son.
As for the double murder, in 2016, Earl Coburn was arrested in connection to the murders of a father and son, Hubert and Micah White. Family member Aline Norwood says in the five years of this case pending, her family has gone through too much.
“We have just sat back and you know watched and waited and Micah’s brother, he lives in Florida, and the anguish that he has had to go through you know losing his dad and brother on the same day,” said Norwood.
Jett acknowledges how tough this has been for victims’ families.
“Truly you don’t get to get that closure, you can’t really begin the healing the emotional side of things until the legal side of things. So, that part I hate that it would even take two, three, four years, that’s a lengthy time. There’s a sense out outrage, and hurt, and that cry for justice,” said Jett.
Jett says these cases can also get continued for many different reasons.
“We have witnesses move off, have witnesses die, witnesses get sick and we’ve had all of some of those occur here, then you have people at forensics that have moved on,” said Jett.
Jett also says there are other cases to deal with as well.
“We talk about capital murder cases being the most serious ones, but you have these people, the homeowners where their house has been broken into and their car is damaged, things like that and those people want justice as well,” said Jett.
Norwood says she really feels for the families of other Lawrence County murder victims.
“People need closure, you know. This needs to be done with and over with so people can move on with their lives,” said Norwood.
However, Jett says they’re starting to get back to normal. As of now, the first case on the docket next week is from 2014. It’s the murder trial of a toddler, a case one family certainly wants justice for.
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