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franklin county times

Jury seeking death penalty in baby case

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
A Franklin County jury recommended the death penalty during the sentencing portion of a capital murder trial Monday.
The jury voted 11 to 1 to put Jody Wayne Waldrop to death for killing his three-week-old baby, Chance, in 2005.
District Attorney Joey Rushing said the sentencing phase of the trial is important because Waldrop was convicted of capital murder. Family members, a medical expert and the victim's mother testified during the sentencing phase.
Starlet Waldrop said that she did not want her husband to die because she wants him "to spend the rest of his natural life in prison thinking about what he has done," and so that in time, he could find God.
"I don't think death should be an option," Starlet said. "One death is enough. Killing him [Jody Waldrop] won't bring Chance back."
She added that she feels grief for Waldrop's family, and she hopes that Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey will sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"Knowing that he will never see the light of day outside of a jail cell is enough for me," Starlet said.
However, Rushing feels the verdict from the jury was well-reasoned and justified, considering the facts and circumstances of the case.
"I wanted the jury to know that it [the death penalty] was an appropriate sentence [for this crime]," Rushing said. "When the victim's family said they wanted life without parole, I made sure they were aware of their feelings as well."
He added that the investigators were a key element to the guilty verdict.
"When you have a case as well-investigated as this one by the Red Bay Police Department, and the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, the jury is given the opportunity to get a full picture of all the evidence and the type of individual who would commit such a crime," Rushing said. "I appreciate all their hard work in the case,"
Defense attorney Steve Aldridge said that there is an automatic appeal on capital cases, adding that should Waldrop be sentenced to die, it could be several years before the execution is carried out.
"I have seen death sentence appeals take as long as 26 years," Aldridge said.
Rushing said that this case is the second capital murder conviction in Franklin County history, and is the first capital case to have a death penalty recommendation.
"The other capital murder case was settled in the midst of trial with a sentence of life without parole," Rushing said.
Rushing added that while the sentence will not be delivered until Oct. 1, the jury's decision could influence Dempsey's ruling; however, it is still up to Dempsey.