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Death row convict appeals sentence

By Alison James


Following her denied direct appeals to the state court of criminal appeals, the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, convicted murderer Christie Scott has filed a Rule 32 petition to overrule her conviction because of “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Scott, 36, of Russellville, was convicted of capital murder in July 2009. She was found guilty of starting a fire Aug. 16, 2009, at her family’s home, in which her 6-year-old son died.

The original trial began in June of 2009, and testimony lasted for approximately four weeks – the longest trial in Franklin County’s history. Although the jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole, Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey handed down the death sentence.

According to the district attorney’s officer, Dempsey will, in the near future, issue an order for the state attorney general’s office to file a response to Scott’s 50+ page brief within a certain window of time, after which Dempsey will determine if and when to hold the Rule 32 hearing and whether to grant Scott’s request for a court-appointed attorney.

District attorney Joey Rushing explained that this is step four in a ten-step appellate process Scott can pursue. The attorney general’s office always handles Rule 32 petitions that are connected to a death sentence.

Scott is only the second person in Franklin County in the modern justice system to have been sentenced to death.

Scott is being held on death row at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.