January trial likely; Death penalty hearing continued

Published 2:38 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The hearing set for Tuesday, in which attorneys for a man charged and indicted with capital murder asked a judge to declare the death penalty section of the Alabama Capital Murder Statue unconstitutional, was continued, but all parties agreed on a tentative January 2017 trial date.

Shelton Lorenz Foster is accused of murdering 48-year-old Donnie Earl Bone in an area off of Old Drag Strip Road in September 2012. He was shot in the back of the head.

The hearing was continued pending service at the Attorney General’s office. Once the AG’s office has been served, Circuit Judge Lex Short will hear the motion.

Additionally, Shelton Lorenz Foster’s attorneys – Manish Patel and Chris Sledge – entered motions asking for the state to disclose aggravated circumstances for the death penalty.

District Attorney Walt Merrell argued that some of that information comes from the grand jury indictment and others could potentially not come until the trial.

Merrell said his staff has adopted an open file policy for revealing discovery in Foster’s case.

Additionally, the attorneys asked for demographics of the grand jury, including race, sex and age.

They also asked for testimony from the grand jury session.

Patel argued that was an unfair advantage to the state when his client was facing the death penalty.

Merrell maintained that law requires that grand jury proceedings be kept secret.

Patel said that ultimately it comes down to Judge Short’s discretion.

In the event that Short ruled against the motion, Patel asked that the testimony provided at grand jury that was recorded be transcribed and sealed.

Short said he would rule on the matters.