Kamaluddeen Raheem Russaw, 22, has been convicted by a Houston County jury on two attempted murder charges for his involvement in a shooting that took place at a graduation party last summer. Circuit Court Judge Larry Anderson scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 11, 2014 after prosecutors asked for a pre-sentence report to be completed. Russaw will face a maximum penalty of 20 to 99 years or life in prison for each charge.
Russaw was one of four individuals that were charged by Dothan Police in connection to a graduation party shooting at a home on East Washington Street on May 23, 2010. The prosecuting attorney, Assistant Houston County District Attorney Banks Smith, said that the incident took place after a man at the party told a passing motorist to slow down. Russaw allegedly had a conversation with the man before a beer can was thrown and shots were fired. After Russaw’s car was struck with gunfire, he left and collected his friends.
According to Smith, the two guilty verdicts announced were in relation to a second shooting that took place 45 minutes later when Russaw returned to the party with three other armed suspects.
Two suspects that were arrested have already been to court while a third suspect, Kamal Tuheed Russaw, remains wanted by police. Carlenius Keon Sandifer received a 60 year prison sentence after a jury convicted him of two less assault charges which included first degree assault and second degree assault. Brandon Layfatte Jones pleaded guilty to two similar assault charges but only received a 15 year sentence due to terms included in his plea agreement.
In the 2014 Legislative session, Attorney General Luther Strange is trying to speed up the execution process, citing long delays for the families of victims. House Bill 216 is the vehicle by which he is trying to accomplish that goal. The bill would provide that the direct appeal in a death penalty case run simultaneously with any post-conviction relief. The bill is being fast-tracked without enough time for meaningful investigation of all the implications.
The implications are numerous. Here are just a few. First, to hurry up an established process will make it less likely that flaws in convictions will be discovered. Not only will that lead to the affirming of wrongful convictions, but also to the execution of the innocent. That, alone, is enough reason that this bill should fail.
Second, how is this bill going to be funded? One of the biggest flaws in Alabama’s death penalty system is the lack of funds to pay lawyers to handle these cases. Death penalty cases require highly-skilled, experienced criminal attorneys. If the state wants to put someone to death, shouldn’t it at least be required to pay competent counsel?
Third, the passage of HB 216, will lead to more litigation. There will be a flood of litigation related to this bill alone should it become law. That will cost the state millions.
Fourth, if the appeals and post-conviction relief run simultaneously, will there be a method by which to allege ineffective assistance of counsel of appellate counsel? If not, then the bill is flawed in yet another way.
As the number of the innocent freed from prison mounts, can we afford to short cut the procedural safe guards in an already problematic system? We think not.
Marcus Duval Dozier, 44, of Dothan, officially entered a guilty plea to cocaine trafficking charges today in court. Assistant Houston County District Attorney Kristen Shields announced that as part of the plea deal, Dozier will accept a lifetime prison sentence which was handed down by Circuit Court Judge Brad Mendheim.
The charges arose after Dozier was arrested on May 3, 2012 following a search warrant being served at his home in the 700 block of Monroe Street in Dothan. Police seized nearly 1.2 ounces of cocaine, 3 grams of marijuana, and two .22-caliber handguns during their search and charged him cocaine trafficking. Dothan police also charged Dozier with the felony failure to affix a tax stamp to the drugs. The second tax stamp related charged was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Dozier faced an enhanced sentence by the court of either life in prison or life without parole due to his four previous felony convictions. He was out on parole on two prior felony convictions for drug trafficking at the time of his arrest in May. Court records show that Marcus Dozier received a 20 year prison sentence for each of the two charges which were ordered to be served concurrently with each other. His life sentence was ordered to be served simultaneously with these two prior drug distribution sentences.
Jay Terrell Curry, 50, was arrested on December 31, 2013 and charged with felony first-degree assault after Dothan police say he stabbed another man with a serrated kitchen knife. The charges against Curry have recently been upgraded to felony attempted murder after investigators conferred with the Houston County District Attorney’s Office. If convicted of these class a felony charge, Curry would face 10 to 99 years or life in prison.
The charges stem from an incident that took place in the 1100 block of North Cherry Street in Dothan. Police responded to a reported assault and found a black male, approximately 45 to 50 years of age, had been stabbed in the shoulder with a 6-inch knife. The assault is believed to be the result of an argument between the two men. Curry was arrested and taken to Houston County Jail where he is being held on $200,000 bond.
The victim of the stabbing was taken to Southeast Alabama Medical Center where he had been listed in critical condition. Dothan Police Lieutenant Will Benny has reported that the victim has since been released from hospital care.
Court records show that Jay Terrell Curry, of Palmetto Street, has previously faced criminal charges in Houston County. In 1988, Curry pleaded guilty to felony unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.
Derrick Timothy Lampley, 51, of North Oates Street, has been arrested and charged with burglarizing multiple businesses near downtown Dothan, including two law offices. A police report shows that investigators arrested Lampley on December 20, 2013 and charged him with eight felony counts of third-degree burglary and 17 felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. He was taken into custody at Houston Country Jail where he is being held on bail totaling over $2.4 million.
A police investigation revealed that Lampley burglarized several businesses in Dothan between December 3, 2013 and December 18, 2013. It is also alleged that Lampley used a debit/credit card stolen in one of the robberies to make multiple withdrawals of money from a local ATM machine on Dec. 17th.
Court records show that Derrick Lampley has been charged with burglarizing the law office of Johnston, Hinesley and Flowers on North Oates Street, the Ramsey, Baxley and McDougle Law Firm on Troy Street, and the Ray Hix Dental Office on West Troy Street. He has also been charged for twice burglarizing the Davis-Dyar Supply Company earlier this month.
Lampley has several prior felony convictions for similar offenses, along with a couple drug-related priors.
Darren Lee Brooker, 47, received five years’ probation from Circuit Judge Michael Conaway for a drug trafficking conviction. The sentence is being referred to as a “reverse-split”, with Brooker serving the five years’ probation before a 5 year prison sentence. However, the prison term could be suspended if Brooker “does well” while on probation.
Investigators originally arrested Darren Brooker and his father, Lee Carroll Brooker, in July of 2011 and charged them with marijuana trafficking. A Houston County jury found Darren Brooker guilty of marijuana trafficking, a class A felony crime, in October. The charges have a sentencing range of 10 to 99 years, or life in prison.
The drug trafficking charge against Lee Carroll Brooker, 74, remains pending.
An investigation by the Houston County Sherriff’s department and Dothan police led to the discovery of a growing drug operation at a residence in the 3700 block of State Line Road in Cottonwood, AL. According to Houston County Sheriff’s Captain, Antonio Gonzalez, 42 marijuana plants were seized from the property which had an estimated street value of over $92,000. The plants were found behind the house in a wooded area.
District Attorney Doug Valeska argued against any sentence involving probation and instead requested a 20-year prison sentence. “There were lights and plants all over the place,” Valeska said. “Trafficking doesn’t have to be selling. It’s trafficking, and it’s the ultimate drug case we have.”
Circuit Judge Michael Conaway has sentenced Devin Rashad Terry, 33, to a 46 month prison sentence for several felony charges in connection to his attempted theft of an ATM machine at a local Regions Bank branch in Dothan. He will serve his prison term within the Houston County Community Corrections program for two felony counts of first-degree theft of property and one count of felony attempted first-degree theft of property. According to the bank branch manager where the attempted theft took place, the offense cost the bank nearly $50,000 after the ATM machine was left inoperable and destroyed.
Terry’s attorney requested that the court sentence his client by using the sentencing guidelines and claimed that Terry had never been in trouble with the law before. However, Judge Conaway was quick to point out that Terry had failed a drug test at a previous court hearing.
Court records show that Shayla Thomapson, 34, pleaded guilty in October to her involvement in the theft and received a 72 month prison sentence. The first-degree theft charges that she and Devin Terry pleaded guilty to involve the theft of a fork lift and a Dodge Ram truck. Also charged in this case were Nathan Thomas and Demontra Flood, of Atlanta. Their criminal charges remain pending.
These four individuals were arrested by Dothan police in January shortly after the incidence occurred.
The Dothan Police Department has arrested and charged William LeVander Hunt following a recent investigation into an armed robbery that occurred at a local Hobo Pantry convenience store on December 8, 2013. Hunt was taken to the Houston County Jail where he is being held on $250,000 bail. If convicted of the felony A first-degree robbery charge, he will face 10 to 99 years or life in prison.
The incident took place on Sunday December 8th when a man entered the store on North Oates Street and began concealing merchandise inside his jacket around 11:45 p.m. When confronted by an employee, the man pulled a knife out, and then fled the scene prior to law enforcement arriving. The same suspect returned to the store at around 11:30 p.m. the following day and was immediately recognized by an employee. Dothan Police responded after the store clerk called 911 and the suspect was taken into custody. Investigators have since been able to identify the suspect as William Hunt.
Police records show that Hunt, 44, had previously been charged with felony second-degree robbery, but the charge was later dismissed. He has also twice been convicted on felony drug charges of cocaine possession.
Rena Hill Parsons has been arrested and charged with felony first-degree theft of property according to Dothan Police lieutenant Will Benny. Parsons, who was out on bail for chemical endangerment of a child, is now facing criminal charges that she stole over $10,000 worth of silver dinnerware from her parents. She was arrested on November 22nd and taken to the Houston County Jail where she was held on $50,000 bail.
Police investigators arrested Parsons on November 21st after her infant child tested positive for benzodiazepine and amphetamines at child birth. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Amason accused Parsons of taking specific medications that she was ordered not to take by medical staff and also claimed that Parson was “dangerous to herself and others because of a serious drug problem”.
Rena Parsons, 24, faces up to 20 years in prison if she is convicted of the class B felony of first-degree theft of property. She would face up to 10 years in prison if she is found guilty of chemical endangerment of a child, which is a class C felony drug crime.
Records show that District Judge Benjamin Lewis ordered Parsons not to leave the state of Alabama or Houston County without the court’s permission. She is currently being electronically monitored at her own expense.
Authorities have accused Stanley P. Phillips, 47, of fraudulently trying to steer $600,000 of a lucrative military contract to a business that could not fulfill the terms of the contract. Phillips is now facing seven counts of wire fraud for his role in the alleged scheme.
Prosecutors claim that Phillips worked as the construction/site manager for a military sub-contractor that was hired to build what is known as a Weak Acetic Recovery Facility at the Holston Army Ammunition Plan in Kingsport, TN. It is believed that Phillips used his position with the sub-contractor to fraudulently steer work on the project to a nursing registry business that he owned. Authorities allege that the main sub-contractor had no knowledge of Phillips’ affiliation with the other company, or the fact that the company was not equipped to perform the work.
If convicted, the maximum penalties for each criminal charge are twenty years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
Stanley P. Phillips’ trial has tentatively been scheduled for December 16, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
The investigation of this case was handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command. Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn Bell is prosecuting the case.