A hearing for three teens suspected of shooting five men in Ensley was scheduled for today. In a surprise turn of events, FOX6 News learned that prosecutors will not push for the death penalty.
According to the law, if a person under the age of 18 is tried as an adult the state cannot pursue the death penalty. If these 3 suspects are tried and convicted on their charges, the maximum sentence would be life in prison without a possibility of parole.
Today's hearing was originally a preliminary hearing for the teens but Judge Stephen Wallace postponed that. A status conference was held instead.
Seventeen-year-old Rashad Stoves, 16-year-old Artavius Underwood and 16-year-old Reginald Mims have all been charged with five counts of capital murder. They are accused of shooting and killing five men Jan. 29 in the Ensley-Highlands neighborhood. Police arrested them within days.
Family member of suspects filled the courtroom today to hear the proceedings.
Prosecutors gave the evidence they had collected to the defense today including 50 CDs and DVDs containing witness statements, defense statements and photos.
Emory Anthony, attorney for Artavius Underwood, said at this piont he does feel his client can get a fair trial in Jefferson County. He also commented today on the young ages of the suspects.
"Well it's disheartening to find five people that are dead. And it's disheartening that you have individuals under 18 being charged with this," Anthony said. "Both families [are] suffering right now from the standpoint of losing family members in that house, as far as having your child put on trial for capital murder. So it's disheartening both ways."
Anthony said he hopes the public will keep in mind that his client is innocent until proven guilty. The preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for April 25 at 9 a.m.
Stay tuned to MyFoxAl.com for more updates as this story develops.
Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive