Fultondale Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty In Beating Death Of Elderly Man

Attorney Zach Peagler comments on news item in www.AL.com about a Fultondale man who will serve 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing an elderly man by beating him.

This seems to be a very favorable plea for this defendant, who was initially facing a capital murder charge.  If he had been convicted of capital murder, he would have been sentenced to either life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to death.  Additionally, by pleading guilty to the Class B Felony of Manslaughter, he will be eligible for parole in a shorter time frame than if he had pled or been convicted of the Class A Felony, murder. 

With 3 prior felony convictions, I would say this defendant should count himself lucky with this result.  That, most probably is a result of the State’s case being difficult to prove.  From a capital murder standpoint, the State would have had to prove that a murder happened during the course of another felony, namely burglary.  The article mentions that the two men knew each other, making burglary more difficult to prove, particularly if there were no other witnesses.  Additionally, the fact that they were in a dispute may point to the fact that the death was not caused intentionally.