Appeals court upholds conviction

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday upheld the murder conviction of Clarence Alvin Norris. Norris, 56, of Andalusia, was convicted in January of 2016 for the murder of his brother, Cleve Norris.

208-norrisclarenceThe evidence at trial revealed that on June 12, 2012, Clarence Norris shot Cleve Norris in the chest with a hunting rifle, which resulted in his death. The murder arose from a dispute regarding the family farm, located on Bass Bridge Road, and happened at a shed on the property.

Both District Attorney Walt Merrell, who prosecuted the case, and defense attorney Chris Sledge agreed at trial that Clarence Norris shot his brother, but Sledge argued that he did so in self defense. Sledge said in opening arguments of the original case that Cleve swung at Clarence with a bush axe several times and that Clarence shot him in self defense.

It took less than an hour before the local jury found Clarence Norris guilty. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, and subsequently sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal.

The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Section handled the case during the appeals process.