Dale County murder case backlog

Local News

DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Beginning in September, expect to see a lot more activity in the Dale County Courthouse.

Dale and Geneva County District Attorney, Kirk Adams, will be working through a backlog of 11 murder cases delayed since the pandemic.

In late September, Chad Brogdon is scheduled for the murder trial of his mother, Penny Newton, who was killed on Mother’s Day 2019.

Her body was found underneath the Choctawhatchee bridge on State Highway 167 near Hartford. Dale and Geneva County District Attorney, Kirk Adams, says it’s one of 11 capital cases his office needs to prosecute.

For nearly a year-and-a-half, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the felony court docket not only in Dale County, but throughout the state.

“So many rules that protect both the victim and defendant to a fair trial it’s very difficult you’ve got to have people there,” said Adams. “Getting juries to come to court has been difficult, but hopefully we’ve turned the corner and we look forward to a busy Fall and Spring.”

Adams says one of his main priorities is to get these murder case dates set for trial. That will help the family members of the murder victims.

In a highly anticipated case, Coley McCraney was charged in the July 1999 murders of teenagers J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett. Adams says a trial date has not yet been set, but he says his office will be working with the trial judge and defense lawyers to start setting dates for the backlog of murder cases.

“For us we want our murder victim’s families to find justice,” said Adams. “We want to be able to find that in a fair trial situation. It has been a little frustrating to get to this point, but we are looking forward to work hard this fall.”

Out of the 11 murder cases, 5 of them involve vehicle deaths. Adams stresses that many of the victims’ families are looking for closure.

He hopes that can happen soon as the legal system begins to open up from the pandemic.

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