Osgood once again sentenced to death for Brown murder

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

James Osgood, 48, has once again been sentenced to death for the rape, torture and murder of Tracy Brown of Clanton, 44, on Oct. 13, 2010.

Osgood was found guilty of two counts of capital murder on May 9, 2014. Chilton County Circuit Court judge Sibley Reynolds sentenced him to death on June 12, 2014.

However, it was determined after an appeal that the sentencing portion of the trial had to be redone due to a “very minor use of words,” according to Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson.

A new sentencing began April 9 at the Chilton County Courthouse with Reynolds presiding.

Two days into the new sentencing, while the jury was still being selected, Osgood informed Reynolds that he wanted to forego his right to trial by jury and requested the judge send him back to death row to await execution.

“[April 10] in open court the judge asked him a series of questions to make sure he understood his rights, understood the law and his options,” Robinson said. “After answering those questions he was asked ‘Why do you want to do this?’

“The defendant said an ‘eye for an eye.’ He said he believes in that. He said that he had done something terrible, and he wanted the death sentence. He was afraid he might get life without the possibility of parole, and he said he deserved death and wanted death.”

The request was so unusual that Robinson and the other prosecutors involved with the case were forced to research the legality of allowing a defendant to forego his right to trial by jury and ask for a specific sentence.

“There was a statute that we used,” Robinson said. “We sought some guidance from the Attorney General’s Office, and Steve Marshall and his office were a great help. They did a wonderful job.

“We weren’t able to find any precedent that this statute had been used, so we very possibly just broke new ground here in Alabama. We had somebody say ‘I’m evil, and I deserve the death penalty.’ We could not agree more.”

On the morning of April 11, Reynolds addressed the prosecution and defense as well as Osgood before handing down his verdict from the bench.

“This court has sworn an oath to uphold the law,” Reynolds said. “We will do our best to uphold the law. I have considered each of the mitigating factors in this case. After taking all factors into consideration, I find the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors. This court finds the sentence should be death.”

Reynolds sentenced Osgood to death by lethal injection for the intentional murder of Brown. The Alabama Supreme Court will set the date of the execution.

Osgood has the right to appeal the sentencing once again.

“I think this is the closest thing to justice that we can get,” Robinson said. “Ultimately I wish I was standing beside Tracy Brown. I never met her, I never got to have a conversation with her, but I have been working this case for eight years. Tracy Brown died for no reason at all. To murder someone for nothing, to me that is as evil as you can be.”

Brown’s stepmother Jackie Wileman and sister Trish Jackson both spoke before the court prior to Reynolds’ ruling.

“Now Tracy can rest, and the rest of the family can have some peace of mind and conclusion,” Wileman said.

Jackson referred to Osgood as a “monster,” and said she felt he deserved the death penalty.

Osgood’s girlfriend Tonya Vandyke, who was Brown’s first cousin and Osgood’s accomplice in the act, pleaded guilty to a capital murder charge and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in April of 2015.

Her sentence is being carried out at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka.