Luverne residents react to Springford insanity plea

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

A painful memory has been brought to the forefront for many residents in Crenshaw County as Brent Springford, Jr., 30, entered two pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity on Jan. 17. The arraignment hearing was held in Montgomery County Circuit Court to charges that he bludgeoned his parents to death on Thanksgiving Day 2004.

Springford faces five murder counts for the deaths of Winston &#8220Brent” Springford and Charlotte Turner Springford, who was a native of Luverne.

The Springfords were the owners of the Pepsi Bottling Company of Luverne, with Winston Springford serving as the president of the company. The couple is buried in Emmaus Cemetery in Luverne.

Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport remembered the couple with fondness and pride.

&#8220They had strong ties to Luverne because of family and because of the Pepsi Company,” Sport said. &#8220Pepsi is one of the most community-minded companies we have ever had.”

When it comes to Springford, Jr.'s plea of not guilty, Sport said, &#8220All indications are that he's guilty.”

&#8220At the outset, it was hard to believe that something like that could happen and affect a small town the way it did,” he said. &#8220There was just total astonishment and disbelief that something like that happened.”

Luverne resident James Morgan agreed with Sport about Springford, Jr.'s guilt in the case.

&#8220He has the right to plea that (not guilty by reason of insanity),” Morgan said. &#8220But I don't think that the judicial system should allow a person to make that kind of plea and live the rest of his life in an institution at the taxpayers' expense.”

&#8220I'd like to know how much it costs to clothe and house a prisoner for just one year, much less for the rest of his life in a case like this,” Morgan said.

Alvin Bland of Luverne echoed Morgan's statements.

&#8220This case appears to be cut and dried,” Bland said. &#8220It shouldn't be dragged out. I predict Springford will be found guilty then put in a psychiatric institution for the rest of his life at our expense. That would come to about $900,000 over 30 years.”

The charges against Springford stem from the night of Nov. 25, 2004, when he allegedly bludgeoned his parents to death in their South Hull Street home in Montgomery's Garden District.

The Jan. 17 appearance was the first time Springford had appeared in court since Feb. 2005, where he has been held in the Montgomery County Detention Facility.