An Open Letter To The Alabama Department Of Corrections and To Colbert County D.A. Bryce Graham, Jr.

To the aforementioned individuals,

First I want to say something to the Alabama Department of Corrections. On your website you have the wrong Mission, Vision, and Values Statement. To be factual, I took this screenshot so as not to miss or misquote a single word of your Statements:

You state that your Vision is “impacting lives for a safer Alabama”. Well, on the afternoon of 1 October 2021, that proved to be a bald-faced lie. In 2016 you released Brian Martin for allegedly “good behavior”–though records show he got into a fight with another inmate seriously injuring him, failing to obey a guard, and not one but TWO drug possessions. All this in LESS THAN 3 YEARS of incarceration. In 2013 Mr. Martin shot and killed his father. And you have the audacity to excuse your failings on Alabama’s Good Behavior law? YOU made him a Class I offender. (If anyone wants to know more about Alabama’s Good Behavior Law CLICK HERE) Did you even look at your Vision Statement? Do you even understand it?

And because of your ineptitude, on that horrendous afternoon, two people are dead, including Sheffield Police Department Sgt. Nick Risner. Mr. Martin also shot at other police officers, injuring one, and another was missed by inches. And now a family is without a husband and a father; a community is without the service and dedication of one of it’s officers; and another family deals with their loved one being dumped out of a moving vehicle like a piece of trash. Alabama Department of Corrections, do you think all this makes for a “safer Alabama”?

And to add insult to injury, your ALLEGED VALUES statement includes ACCOUNTABILITY! Obviously there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY within your department. If there was, then the Warden, any others who could have but failed to stop this pathetic early release, and the head of the Alabama Department of Corrections need to be criminally charged (and hopefully convicted) of being accessories before the fact. YOU bear responsibility for the deaths and trauma in the Shoals Area. You have NO MISSION, NO VISION, AND ABSOLUTELY NO VALUES when it comes to a safer Alabama.

And now, on to you, Mr. Bryce Graham, Jr. Here’s a screenshot from your website:

You declare that you want to see justice done in each and every case. Well, your decisions prove that’s just not the case. In 2013, when Mr. Martin was on trial for shooting and killing his father, you pled him down to manslaughter and a sentence of only 10 years. Was justice really served in that case? Surely, Mr. Graham, Jr., you are aware of Alabama’s Good Time Law. You must have known (at least should have known) that Mr. Martin could have been released after serving only one-third of his sentence.

Mr. Graham, Jr.–you share with the Alabama Department of Corrections responsibility for the tragic events on 1 October 2021. What were you thinking when you agreed to the plea deal? The only answer I can reach is that you were more concerned about your conviction rate than justice for Mr. Martin’s victim. And now the victims of Mr. Martin have multiplied. How does that make you feel, Mr. Graham, Jr.? And now, for there to be any sense of justice, Mr. Graham, Jr. you should finish the last 7 years of Mr. Martin’s sentence. Who knows, maybe the Alabama Department of Corrections (‘corrections’, what a joke!) will classify you as a Class I prisoner and let you go free before your 7 year sentence is serve.

Before you ever reach another “plea deal”, remember 1 October 2021. Maybe, I said Maybe, you will think long and hard–and rise up to the challenge of seeking justice for the victims of criminals.