Father, son guilty in theft of gun

Published 1:49 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

DA says prior records means pair could get life sentences

A Covington County jury spent less than an hour deliberating before finding Donovan Kirk Spenard, 52, of Andalusia, and his son, Joseph Spenard, 25, also of Andalusia, guilty of Theft of Property I.

According to a press release from the Covington County District Attorney’s office, the two men were arrested by the Andalusia Police Department for the 2015 theft of a gun at 223 Walker Avenue in Andalusia.

District Attorney Walt Merrell prosecuted the case. David Baker of Opp represented Kirk Spenard and Benton Persons of Andalusia represented Joseph Spenard.

During the two-day trial, the state called four eye witnesses, all of whom were at the house on Walker Avenue when the theft occurred. Each testified that the victim, Tom Crowell, had purchased a gun from a third party. The evidence showed that Kirk Spenard made contact with Crowell to purchase the gun, alleging it had been stolen from his friend. Crowell agreed to meet Spenard and try to “right the wrong” because, as Crowell indicated in his testimony, if the gun was stolen he wanted to get it back to its rightful owner.

On October 10, 2015, the two Spenards arrived at the Walker Avenue residence under the pretense of buying the gun. The testimony revealed that shortly after their arrival, Joseph Spenard grabbed the gun and fled from the residence. The elder Spenard remained at the residence momentarily, blocking the door to prevent anyone from pursuing his son, and then warned the witnesses, “Let this be a lesson to you. And if we see each other after this, I might give you a head nod, but we don’t know each other.”

After the jury found the defendants guilty, Circuit Judge Lex Short reconvened the jury for them to determine if there were aggravating factors that would allow the judge to exceed the sentencing requirements set forth by the Alabama Prison Reform Act.

Theft of Property I is a Class B felony normally punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison for a first time offense.

However, because of the limitations imposed by the Prison Reform Act, the judge would have been limited to a maximum of five years and one month for Kirk Spenard, and a maximum of nine years and seven months for Joseph Spenard, Merrell said.

“The jury found both aggravating factors do apply, and now, because these men both have considerable criminal records, the judge is free to sentence each of them to something much more significant if he so chooses.”

Because of their prior felony convictions, both men now face up to life in prison. Sentencing is set for October 17, 2018.