Andalusia resident receives ADA of Year Award

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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An Andalusia resident and assistant district attorney in Dale and Geneva counties has been named the Alabama District Attorney Association’s ADA of the Year.

Emmett Massey was presented the Larry E. Smith Award for outstanding service during the association’s annual conference in Orange Beach. He was nominated for the award by 33rd Judicial Circuit District Attorney Kirke Adams and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Massey played a role in the prosecution of Coley McCraney who was convicted and given a life sentence for a cold-case homicide that occurred in Ozark about 24 years ago. He worked along Marshall and Assistant Attorney General Jimmy Thomas in prosecuting the case.

“Our office agreed to assist in the now 24-year-old cold case. Many local prosecutors, knowing the Attorney General’s office was involved, would have asked to be released from any involvement in continued prosecution. Not Emmett. Not only did he ask to work with us, but he was also a valuable and dedicated member of the team. He was thorough in his preparation, skilled in courtroom advocacy, and empathetic in his interaction with victims. While we were grateful and pleased to receive a just verdict for the impacted families, I was personally gratified to serve on a prosecution team with such a dedicated and capable public servant,” stated Marshall in nominating Massey for the award.

Massey, originally from the town of Marvel in Bibb County, Alabama, graduated valedictorian from West Blocton High School in 2002 and graduated senior elite and first in his department at the University of Montevallo in 2007 as political science major. He was on the dean’s list at Jones School of Law. He came to Andalusia in 2011 when he was hired by Covington County District Attorney Walt Merrell to work in the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

“I was working as a garbage man and a mover for the University of Montevallo after law school. I didn’t know any attorneys and was sending my resumés everywhere. Walt Merrell agreed to meet with me and he hired me to serve in the Covington County District Attorney’s office in January 2011. We moved to Andalusia in 2011 and we’ve been here ever since,” Massey said.

While working in Covington County, Massey served as the Drug Task Force prosecutor, along with other prosecutions. He said his work in Covington County gave him the experience he needed as a prosecutor.

“Covington County blessed with very good law enforcement, both in the county and the city. The Drug Task Force taught me a ton about being a prosecutor. Allowing me to go and see first-hand how they do things were super valuable to me as a young prosecutor. My work with the DA’s office was a whole new world for me and as I’ve gotten older I can really appreciate that those cases helped shape me into the prosecutor I am now,” he said.

In 2017, Massey was given the opportunity to work with Adams in the Dale and Geneva circuit, but he and his family chose to remain residents of Andalusia.

“We love Covington County. We have a lot of friends here and I coach a lot of rec ball sports. My son’s team has won the state championship the past two seasons. I was youth pastor at Hopewell Baptist Church for about five years and at Opp First Baptist Church for about two years. We just fell in love with the community,” Massey said.

In Massey’s role with the Dale-Geneva circuit, Adams said in his nomination letter that he works every case with the same level of professionalism and detail.

“He is passionate, dedicated and devoted to the pursuit of justice for victims of crimes. He pursues this with strong Christian values and an ability to treat all people with deserved respect,” Adams said.

Massey said he is honored to be this year’s recipient of the Larry Smith Award.

“This is a huge honor. Just receiving the recommendation from the Attorney General and from my DA was very humbling. I’m just a poor boy from Bibb County, but. God has led me to the position I’m in and I’ve been doing it now for the better part of 12 years. To have other people recognize what you do — especially people of that caliber — is very humbling,” Massey said.

Currently, Massey serves as youth pastor at Geneva First Baptist Church. He married Rebecca Massey in 2010 and they have three children: Daniel Emmett Massey V, 11; Margaret Lane Massey, 9; and William Reed Massey, 5.

“We love this community and county. I personally thank those in Covington County for the support they have given to me and my family over the years. Everyone has been very loving and kind ever since we moved down here,” he said.