Man pens book about Murphy murder trial

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Benny Chaney of Clanton has written a book about his experiences serving as a juror in the recent capital murder trial of Jason Murphy.

“The 11th Juror: Reasonable Doubt in Alabama” details Chaney’s perspective of the second of three trials, which took place in the Chilton County Courthouse in the fall of 2007. The second trial, like the first, ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.

Chaney finished the 71-page book in August 2009, just two months prior to Murphy’s felony murder conviction in the 2003 killing of Elmore County businessman Ronnie Holman.

The work is Chaney’s first formal attempt at writing.

“I was just in awe of what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe it, and it sounded like a movie,” Chaney recalled. “I had to write about it.”

Chaney said he has always been intrigued by law. He took a year of law at Kennedy King College in Chicago, where he lived for 44 years. He also sold real estate in the Chicago area.

He said his goal in writing “The 11th Juror” was to morally investigate the legal system. Although several names are omitted from the story, Chaney steps back to ask the ultimate question: Was justice truly served?

“I felt that the system had been fair and somewhat thorough in its attempt to achieve justice, but I feel deep in my soul that justice has not been served,” Chaney writes.

Chaney initially published 75 copies of the book with intentions to publish more. He was assisted by Frenchy Hodges of East Dublin, Ga., whom he calls his mentor.

Those who wish to obtain a copy may reach Chaney at 755-2250.