Springford back in Alabama

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

MONTGOMERY – After months of fighting extradition back to the state, Brent Springford made his first appearance in a Montgomery courtroom on Tuesday morning.

Springford, 28, is charged with beating to death Winston "Brent" Springford and Charlotte Springford, both 62, on Thanksgiving Day in their home last November.

Springford was silent during his brief appearance in front of Montgomery County District Judge Peggy Givhan. He was advised of his rights and formally charged with the double-homicide that sent shockwaves throughout the cities of Montgomery and Luverne. Springford Sr. was the president of Luverne's Pepsi Cola Bottling Company while his wife, Charlotte, was a Luverne native whose family had started the business in the 1930s.

On the request of Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks, Springford was also asked by Givhan to submit an affidavit of income.

"We have to determine whether or not the state can provide you legal defense," Givhan told Springford.

Bill Blanchard, the court-appointed attorney, has filed for a preliminary hearing on his client's behalf and expects to remain as Springford's defense. He met with Springford for the first time on Monday and described his client as cooperative and 'soft-spoken.'

Brooks said Tuesday's hearing was just the 'next step in a lengthy, legal process.'

"Capital murder cases are especially long," she said. "The police are still investigating and gathering evidence."

Also, there are two other states involved besides Alabama - Oklahoma and Colorado. Allegedly, after murdering his parents, Springford left Montgomery in the couple's 1998 black Jaguar. The car was later recovered in Tulsa, Okla. After entering a Colorado psychiatric hospital, Springford was later arrested and placed in custody on Dec. 9, 2004.

Since that point, Springford has been fighting a return to Alabama but during a scheduled hearing in a Boulder, Colo., courtroom on Feb. 17, Springford waived extradition. Montgomery Police Department detectives flew into Colorado and took Springford in custody the next day.

Because of the publicity surrounding the case, police established a perimeter around the back of the Montgomery County Jail prior to Springford's arrival. The accused was then escorted inside with a black cloth draped over his upper body.

He is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Jail.

"The judge denied bail which we assumed is what would happen," said Blanchard.

According to Blanchard, Springford his taking medication. He was prescribed medication while jailed in Colorado to treat a reported bipolar disorder.

Just prior to his arrest, Springford called WSFA, Channel 12, and asked to read a statement. He stated that he had 'loved' his mother and father 'very much' and was 'terribly sad to hear the news' of their deaths.

Brooks said it could be months before the case goes to the grand jury.

Once the case is presented, the grand jury could uphold the two counts of capital murder (the death penalty) or reduce the charges to first-degree murder (life imprisonment).