Lynn pleads to lesser offense in cold-case murder

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sandra Ellison Lynn, 53, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery for her role in the 1994 robbery and murder of Covington County businessman James “Nibby” Barton.


The investigation into Mr. Barton’s death was re-opened by the District Attorney’s Cold Case Task Force in 2013. Lynn was indicted in December, 2013, for murder and robbery along with co-defendants Eugene Wallace Black, Sheila Williams Walker, and Sheila Clark Brooks.

Court records indicate that Lynn participated in planning the robbery, but did not participate in the robbery or the murder.

According to Merrell, “Ms. Lynn was indicted for murder because the law in Alabama says that if you participate at any level in a felony and during the commission of that felony, someone is killed, then you can be charged for the murder, too.” He added that, “dropping the murder charge against Lynn seemed fair and appropriate, given the fact that she was not at the store when Mr. Barton was killed.”

After the investigation was reopened, she gave statements to investigators concerning her knowledge of the crimes and has been helpful in the investigation thereafter.

Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan sentenced Lynn to 12 years and 6 months imprisonment. She applied for the benefits of probation, and a hearing to determine whether she will be granted probation will be set at a later date. Lynn was represented by Gypsy Smith.

The cases against Black and Walker are set for trial in August. Brooks died in February, 2014, of natural causes.