Court denies Doster retrial

Published 12:31 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Alabama Supreme Court has quashed a motion filed by the Equal Justice Initiative on behalf of Oscar Roy Doster that could have granted the twice-convicted murderer a new trial.

The EJI is a Montgomery-based private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

According to its website, the group litigates on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct.

A release dated Jan. 28 stated the group had accepted Doster as a client. Doster was convicted of capital murder in 2006 for his part in the 2002 murder of Gantt resident Paul LeMaster. During a prison break, Doster and Bobby O’Lee Phillips shot and killed LeMaster. Phillips has also sentenced to death.

The jury recommended life in prison for Doster; however, Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan overruled that decision and sentenced him to death.

EJI counsel argued that the state Supreme Court should address whether the state introduced enough reliable evidence to convict Doster of capital murder since the prosecution agreed Doster did not kill LeMaster and was not present when Phillips shot LeMaster.

In August, the state Supreme Court upheld Doster’s capital murder conviction and issued a 146-page opinion, affirming McKathan’s decision almost four years after it was handed down. Incidentally, the appellate ruling came on the same day that Doster officially was sentenced by a Texas judge to life in prison there for the 2005 murder of Dennis Courtney during Doster’s second escape from the Covington County Jail.

On April 15, the Supreme Court did not agree to EJI’s opinion it should readdress Doster’s case and quashed the motion.

At present, Doster sits on death row in Atmore’s Holman Prison, where it could be years before he faces execution.