Judges denies motion for new trial in cold case murder

Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Presiding Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan denied a request for a new trial for the man convicted of the 1994 murder of a Heath convenience store owner.

Eugene Wallace Black was convicted in August of murdering James “Nibby: Barton.

Black was one of four defendants in the case brought back to light by the Cold Case Task Force established by the district attorney’s office.

On Wednesday of last week, Black and his attorney Peter Bush were in court asking for a new trial.

“A motion for new trial is a routine part of the legal process for criminal defendants, who are found guilty by a jury,” said District Attorney Walt Merrell. “Despite its routines, a pending motion for new trial can cause victims some concern, and I appreciate Judge McKathan’s swift disposition of Black’s motion. He held the hearing, heard our arguments and those of Black’s lawyer and denied the request.”

Black was sentence to 70 years in prison in October and is serving his sentence at Fountain Correctional Center.

One of the suspects in the case – Sheila Ellison Brooks died; Sandra Ellison Lynn was sentenced 12 years and six months in prison for her role in the crime. She pleaded guilty in May to the lesser offense of conspiracy to commit robbery. 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 received credit for time she already served as well.

She is currently serving time in Montgomery Women’s Facility.

Sheila Walker Williams pleaded guilty to robbery in exchange for a 15-year sentence.

She was initially going to be tried with Black. Williams is listed on the Alabama Department of Corrections website as being held in the Covington County Jail.