BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Jefferson County jury decides the fate of a 21-year-old convicted killer after an emotionally charged verdict. It is the final stage of the Derrick Allen trial.
Faced with the choice of recommending either the death penalty or life in prison without parole, a Jefferson County Jury voted unanimously for life without parole for Derrick Allen.
The courtroom was tense when the jury’s decision was announced. There were extra deputies and courtroom guards following the Thursday outburst that sent two of the defendant’s loved ones to the Jefferson County Jail.
Judge Clyde Jones ordered the two women to spend two days in jail for contempt of court after their loud reaction to Thursday’s verdict. The judge’s clerk confirmed that the women made a very noisy exit and were escorted back into the courtroom by a bailiff. Judge Jones had previously warned the courtroom that no emotional outbursts would be tolerated.
Derrick Allen and Eric Rahmaan were both indicted for capital murder and robbery in the March 2013 shooting death of Adam Morrow.
Court records show that Allen and Rahmaan were both charged with shooting Morrow inside a vehicle and stealing money and/or hydrocodone tablets and/or a cell phone from Morrow in the 6200 block of 4th Court North in Birmingham.
Eric Rahmaan pleaded guilty to an amended charge of felony murder as part of a plea agreement, according to court records.
Derrick Allen was convicted of capital murder in the 2013 shooting death of Adam Morrow.
After the jury handed down their recommendation, the victim’s sister told reporters she is pleased with the outcome and would not want the death penalty for Derrick Allen.
“Like I said we’re just glad that everything went the way it went and the case was won for my brother. And may he rest in peace,” said Rose Morrow, sister of Adam Morrow.
Court records reflect that Derrick Allen had appeared as a defendant twice before Judge Jones in unrelated cases, on murder and robbery charges and that he was acquitted both times.
Allen’s grandmother says the family is not satisfied with the trial.
“We’re going to keep on until we get him out, no matter what Judge Clyde Jones say. Because in the first place the case shouldn’t have been in his courtroom,” said Christine Allen Cooke, Derrick Allen’s grandmother.
The defendant’s aunt, Jackie McCollough, was also very upset about the ruling.
“It’s just unfair. It’s unfair… it’s unfair,” said Jackie McCollough.
Allen’s defense attorney, Bill Myers, says they will likely appeal the ruling. He said the trial was one of the more emotionally charged atmospheres he has experienced.
“Probably more than most.Of course any capital case you know it’s going to be charged. There’s going to be a lot of emotions. You have the deceased. You have the families involved. But I think the court security did a great and kept things under control and, it was, it was just tough on everybody. It was tough for the victim’s family and obviously it was hard on Mr. Allen’s family,” said Myers.
A final sentencing hearing has been set for August 7, 2014.
In Alabama, judges have the authority to agree with a with a jury’s recommended sentence or to override a jury’s recommendation of life without parole in favor of the death penalty.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News