LaFAYETTE, Ala. (WRBL) — The criminal defense team for a Lanett man says their client’s right to a speedy trial has been trampled as he’s spent five years in jail waiting as his day in court for Capital Murder continues getting delayed.
On February 24th, 2017, two-year-old Breann Avery, was pronounced dead at EAMC-Lanier Hospital. Lanett Police arrested 20-year-old Raeshon Williams on allegations of Aggravated Child Abuse, then Capital Murder. Williams was the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother. The couple also had twins. WRBL did reach out to Lanett Police on why they believe Williams killed his girlfriend’s daughter. However, the chief said the department could not comment on the investigation pending trial.
Zach Alsobrook, Williams’ Defense attorney, says his client has been behind bars at the Chambers County Detention Facility for five years waiting for his chance to prove his innocence. However, his day in court keeps getting pushed back despite a judge issuing a written order for a speedy trial on two occasions.
“For a young man at the age of 20 to lose the best years of his life sitting for something we believe he wholeheartedly did not do is a sickening statement to the slowness or the grind here in Chambers County regarding this case,” said Alsobrook.
Three years ago Alsobrook filed his first motion for a speedy trial. COVID delayed the process, but in January of this year, the case looked like it was moving forward.
“In January we had a hearing on it. Judge Perryman gave the State until March to have the case tried, or he was going to grant his motion for a bond. Prosecutors again were not prepared for trial, and at that point, Judge Perryman granted him a bond with an ankle monitor,” said Alsobrook.
April 1, 2022, Williams was released from jail to await trial and fitted with an ankle monitor. He was told not to leave Chambers County. Assistant District Attorney Taylor Lee Stokes, who is prosecuting the case, tells WRBL Williams’ violated the order by traveling to Lee County. Williams was back in jail on October 27th, but Alsobrook said the judge also granted another defense motion for a speedy trial. The judge said the trial needed to start on Monday, October 31.
“We prepped all weekend cause as of Thursday of last week Judge Perryman issued an order granting our motion for a speedy trial and setting it to start October 31st. We appeared in court, and it was not on the docket,” said Alsobrook.
Prosecutor Stokes told WRBL the state was ready to try the case, but it was not on the docket and she didn’t know why. WRBL hasn’t been able to find out why.
“I think there was an opportunity there for us both, me and her, to approach Judge Martin and at least get it put back on the docket and be heard in the second week. But, the state did not seem interested to do that. She just stated it was not on the docket so there was nothing she could do with it,” said Alsobrook.
Alsobrook says the next trial term isn’t until the Spring of 2023 meaning Williams could enter year six in jail at the Chambers County Detention Center. When the trial didn’t start on October 31, Alsobrook filed two motions to have the case dismissed entirely. Alsobrook also filed another bond request for his client.
“I typically, no offense to the media, but as a lawyer, we typically don’t have a comment. But, in this situation someone has to speak out because it’s not right. The trial needs to happen, or a dismissal needs to happen. I believe in either instance, Raeshon Williams is going to be found not guilty of the charges,” said Alsobrook.
Alsobrook says he’s ready to prove his client is innocent but says the key medical witness for the defense is elderly. Alsobrook worries if too much more time passes this critical witness may not be able to testify for Williams.
Chambers County Assistant District Attorney Taylor Lee Stokes is in the middle of prosecuting another case this week in the Chambers County Courthouse. Stokes told WRBL she does not know why the Williams case was not on this week’s docket and she reiterates the state is ready to prosecute. Since learning Williams’ defense team has filed a motion to dismiss and for a bond, WRBL has reached out to Assistant District Attorney Stokes to see if she has a further comment. We will let you know if and when we hear back.
Meanwhile, a look at Chambers County Detention records shows seven defendants are incarcerated on Capital Murder Charges unable to make bond. One defendant has been in jail since March 2016.