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McLemore pleads to capital murder

Michael McLemore, pictured after his bond hearing in September 2011, pleaded guilty to capital murder at a hearing last Wednesday morning and received a sentence of life in prison without parole. | File photo
Michael McLemore, pictured after his bond hearing in September 2011, pleaded guilty to capital murder at a hearing last Wednesday morning and received a sentence of life in prison without parole. | File photo

A local man accused of capital murder and attempted murder in a 2011 case entered a guilty plea this week, courthouse officials said.

According to Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing, Michael McLemore, 28, formerly of Ruby Road in Phil Campbell, pleaded guilty to capital murder at a hearing last Wednesday morning and received a sentence of life in prison without parole.

McLemore was originally charged with two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of his father and stepmother, Ricky Hodge, 56, and Connie Hodge, 59, and two counts of attempted murder in the attacks of Marcia Smith, 57, and Royce Riddle, 63.

Rushing said McLemore pleaded guilty to the murder of his father and acknowledged the killing of his stepmother and the attacks on the Hodges in his plea agreement.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case,” Rushing said.

“With his charges, [McLemore] was facing life in prison without parole or the death penalty, and we are glad we were able to make sure he stays in prison for the rest of his life without having to put the family through a lengthy trial.

“We are glad that we could get justice for these crimes and that the family now has some closure.”

According to reports, the alleged crimes in question took place at 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2011, at the Ruby Road trailer where McLemore was reported to live with his father and stepmother as well as Ricky and Connie Hodge.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said the incident was allegedly fueled by a disagreement over money between McLemore and his father.

According to reports, McLemore asked his father for money but when Ricky Hodge refused to give him any money, McLemore is reported to have used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot his father near the kitchen hallway of the trailer.

Reports indicate Connie Hodge was shot while she was still in bed.

Oliver said it appeared McLemore used a claw hammer to then assault Smith and Riddle who were in a back bedroom and were awakened by the shots.

Smith and Riddle were transported to Russellville Hospital where they were treated for their injuries and later released. Oliver said McLemore admitted to his involvement in the crimes after going to a neighbor’s house about 500 feet away and calling 911.

McLemore was taken into custody when officers arrived at the scene and transported to the Franklin County Jail.

District Judge Paula McDowell denied his bond at a Sept. 12, 2011 hearing and McLemore remained at the Franklin County Jail until June 2013 when he was transferred to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility where he has remained since that time.

A mental competency trial was held at the end of June to determine if McLemore was actually competent to stand trial.

After two days of hearing evidence, the jury deliberated for a little more than an hour on June 26 before returning their verdict that McLemore was mentally competent to stand trial for the crimes.

His case could have gone to trial as early as September had he not entered the guilty plea.

Rushing said McLemore waived his right to an appeal by pleading guilty in the case.

“I appreciate the work by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the ABI in this case,” Rushing said.

“They did an excellent job securing the evidence we needed to make sure Mr. McLemore serves the maximum amount of time for these crimes.”

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