New trial in Highway 139 slaying

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By AMY JONES / Shelby County Reporter

The Alabama Supreme Court has called for a new trial for Alabama death row prisoner Jimmy Lamar Killingsworth, 34, a Montevallo man who was arrested in 2004 for the slaying of a Bibb County man.

According to testimony in the original trial, Killingsworth and another man, Chilton County resident Troy Connell, followed Steven Spears and his wife, Monica, after they stopped at a convenience store in Montevallo on Dec. 10, 2004.

According to testimony in the original trial, Killingsworth and Connell fired shots into the Spears’ vehicle, striking Steven Spears, who died at the scene. They then beat Monica Spears with a chain as she attempted to escape.

The attack happened on Alabama 139 between Wilton and Randolph in Bibb County.

The Supreme Court threw out the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals’ 2006 conviction and death sentence for Killingsworth after ruling that court attorneys allowed a biased juror to serve during Killingsworth’s trial.

According to court documents, a juror in Killingsworth’s trial told attorneys she knew family members of the victims and that she could not be impartial during the trial. Despite her assertion, she was not dismissed and was allowed to serve on the jury.

“Killingsworth now argues that his right to an impartial jury was violated because, he argues, a juror who was admittedly biased sat on the jury. We agree,” read the opinion of the Supreme Court.

A new trial will be set at a later date.