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$500K bond set in murder case

The bond for a Russellville man accused of killing his mother was set at $500,000 on Monday.

James Chris Spencer, 46, of 704 Green Ave., Russellville, is charged with murder in the death of his 65-year-old mother, Rosalyn R. (Jo) Spencer, whose body was discovered Thursday night inside the Green Avenue residence she shared with her son.

According to Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett, officers arrived at the residence on Thursday evening after receiving a welfare call about 7 p.m.

“A neighbor called and said she was worried about her because she hadn’t talked with her in three or four days,” Hargett said.

He said the neighbor said they talked every day and no one had talked with her since Sunday.

“Our officers made entry and we found her body on the bedroom floor and there was evidence of a struggle,” Hargett said.

“She had wounds on her body, but we are unsure at this time what actually caused her death.”

Hargett said the body has been sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy and they will know more information once they receive forensic results.

Hargett did say the victim appeared to have been deceased for at least 2-3 days.

Police Lt. Scotty Lowery said Chris Spencer was developed as a suspect during the course of the investigation, which is being conducted with the help of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Lowery said officers located Spencer Friday morning at Helen Keller Hospital where he was being treated for an apparent drug overdose.

Hargett said an arrest warrant for the charge of murder was issued for Spencer on Friday afternoon but he was unable to be taken into custody while still a patient so he remained under guarded condition until he was released from hospital care at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Lowery said Spencer was immediately transported to the Franklin County Jail at that time to await a revocation hearing and a bond hearing Monday afternoon.

Franklin County District Judge Paula McDowell set Spencer’s bond at $500,000 at Monday’s bond hearing.

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing requested a high bond because he said Spencer should be considered a danger to himself and to others.

“Mr. Spencer is a danger to himself since he was recently in the hospital for taking a large amount of drugs that almost killed him and because there are previous reports that he swallowed razor blades at the jail when in custody before,” Rushing said.

Even though a bond was set, Spencer will not be able to post bond since his new arrest violates the terms of his bond in a previous case where he was accused of selling more than $3,000 worth of stolen jewelry to a Colbert County pawn shop in October 2012.

At a hearing Monday afternoon, Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey continued the revocation hearing in this case at the request of Spencer’s attorney.

Spencer will be held in custody at the Franklin County Jail until the revocation hearing is reset.

If the bond from the previous case is revoked, Spencer will remain in custody for that case.

If the bond is not revoked, Spencer will have the option to post the $500,000 bond in the murder case.

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