Prosecutor: Crime Spree Favors Truth In Sentencing


A crime spree by Walter Honea that culminated in his suicide last month after a 20-hour police standoff illustrates a common problem in Alabama’s corrections system, says the Talladega Daily Home. Honea, 34, pleaded guilty to assault in 2001 after stabbing a woman. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was free and unsupervised within three years. Seven months after being released, he had murdered two people and kidnapped a 14-year-old girl. Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens, who prosecuted Honea, said, “Nobody’s got a crystal ball, there’s no way to tell for sure what somebody’s going to do when they get out of prison. But cases like this make a strong argument for a truth in sentencing law.”

Talladega County Circuit Judge Julian King, who handled the most recent Honea case, said, “Thirty days after sentencing, I have nothing to do with what happens to someone I’ve given a straight sentence to. After that, everything is up to the Department of Corrections, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Legislature.” This case is “just the tip of the iceberg,” says King. “The criminal justice system, penology and paroles are very complex situations, and the judicial, legislative and executive branches of state government have all been studying these issues for years. Monetary constraints have a great bearing on the parole process and on early release from penitentiary sentences.”


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