Jeter to become chief assistant district attorney

Published 12:04 am Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Walt Merrell takes the oath of office as Covington County’s district attorney next Tuesday, he’ll have a full staff ready to go to work.

Grace Jeter will be the chief assistant district attorney. Jeter previously worked in the DA’s office and specialized in prosecuting sex abuse and child abuse cases.

Merrell said he also has hired recent law school graduate Emmett Massey to join the DA’s staff.

“I’m especially confident in his potential as in-court trial attorney,” Merrell said. “He has all of the intangibles you look for in somebody you think will perform well under pressure in the courtroom.”

Merrell said Massey’s physical appearance alone will make him an imposing figure in court. The 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound prosecutor played basketball at the University of Montevallo and is a former state karate champion. His wife is a former national karate champion and comes from a law enforcement family.

Paul Adams will remain on the DA’s staff. Merrell said Adams and Massey will complement each other.

“One of his strengths is research,” Merrell said. “It’s good to have someone like him on the team.”

In addition to the full-time prosecutors, three local attorneys will work part-time with the new DA.

“I’ve asked Lee Enzor to come back and take over District Court,” Merrell said. “He did that for 17 years, and it was a well-oiled machine while he was there.”

Patrick McCalman will continue to serve as juvenile court prosecutor and Stacy Brooks will remain on staff as a drug court prosecutor.

The administrative staff will include Carol Thomasson and Lorenda Channell, who previously worked in Merrell’s law firm. Wanda Griggs sand Jean Scott will remain on the DA’s staff.

Investigators Gary Hutcheson and Max Smith will remain on staff, and Brett Holmes will return to the DA’s office as an investigator, Merrell said.