Lynn to serve 2 years in Barton case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sandra Ellison Lynn will spend two years in prison for her role in the 1994 robbery and murder of Covington County businessman James “Nibby” Barton.

Lynn, 53, was one of four people indicted in the murder case in December of 2013. She was charged with murder and first-degree robbery.


Earlier this month, Lynn pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of conspiracy to commit robbery, and was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison.

On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan heard Lynn’s appeal for probation, and agreed to a split sentence, with two years in prison and the remaining time on probation. She will receive credit for time already served.

Sheila Williams Walker and Shelia Ellison Brooks also were charged with murder and first-degree robbery. A fourth suspect, Eugene Black, initially was charged with murder, robbery I, burglary III, domestic violence/harassment and violation of parole.

Brooks, who was Lynn’s sister, died in jail of natural causes in February of 2014. The remaining three suspects were indicted again in December of 2014 for murder.

Lynn is expected to testify against Walker and Black, whose cases were combined. Their trial currently is set for August.

Whether or not Lynn would testify against the alleged co-conspirators has been debated in several court hearings.

Defense attorneys for Black and Williams previously raised questions about the availability of Lynn’s medical records. Defense attorney Peter Bush of Montgomery, who represents Black, told Judge McKathan earlier this year that Lynn previously was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and he would like to know what drugs were prescribed for her between 1994 and the present. Her physician, Bush said, has closed his practice.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said in a statement released after her plea on May 5, “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.

“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,” he said.

After the investigation was reopened, she gave statements to investigators concerning her knowledge of the crimes and has been helpful in the investigation thereafter, according to the district attorney’s office.

Gypsy Smith represents Lynn.