Deadlocked: Mistrial declared in murder trial

news-morrisandbrideBarbara and Butch Morris.

After listening to five days of testimony and deliberating for 13 hours, the jury in the murder trial of Alvin Lee "Butch" Morris today remained evenly divided 6-6 about his guilt in the 1988 murder of Roger Lee Shifflett, and Judge Cheryl Higgins recused them and thanked them for seven long days of service in Albemarle Circuit Court.

"The jury is firmly deadlocked," they wrote in a note to the judge that she read in court at 12:45pm. "We have agreed we feel further deliberations will not change the situation."

It's now up to Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford whether she'll retry the 21-year-old case. "I have not decided what to do, and will talk to the family," she said.

Morris, his wife Barbara, who is the widow of the slain man, and their family and friends left after the mistrial through a side door.

The Shifflett family seemed more upbeat today than last night, when they learned a mistrial was possible, but they declined to comment as they exited the courthouse.

"Obviously everybody was pleased," said defense attorney Dana Slater, speaking for her client. "We were hoping for a not-guilty verdict, but a deadlocked jury was not unexpected."

Nita Irvine, a longtime friend and coworker of Barbara Morris at Stone-Robinson Elementary, was present the entire seven days of the trial. "Both Butch and Barbara, their faith is strong," she said. "They're confident the Lord's working."

And if there is another trial, Irvine vows to be there.


1- Allow me to correct you please, for you know nothing about what you speak of. Half think he is guilty. The magic word there is THINK. Not one member of the jury was present at the time of the shooting.

2- What is this "little bit shy" BS? You don't have any idea where the other half stand. To quote you from above, perhaps the other half KNOWS he is innocent.

3- Whether he is tried again or not, he is now known as a murderer for the rest of his natural life. His character and reputation are tarnished beyond repair....forever. Just like people still think and announce freely that O J Simpson is a murderer after the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict against him.

My best advice is this.... if you don't like the criminal justice system in America, supposedly the best in the world, pack up and move to one of the foreign countries where they behead people for next to nothing.

Did the murderer (whoever) commit the perfect crime? Well, obviously he/she most certainly did. The local police haven't been able to solve it. Don't blame my ramblings. :)

Free Butch Morris! Free him now! The new States Attorney is doing a witch hunt with no evidence. A cigarette butt, Butch seen driving the former store owners truck is shy evidence to hang someone 20 years later. What about that Chevy seen at the store early one morning? What about the other mysterious store murders in Cville and Albemarle Co over the years. Gosh, here we have a supposed great America City/County with a elemetary SA chasing old cases. If she had REAL evidence, then it would be worthwhile. Boy I can't wait for the next election when she is up again. Sorry for the loss for the Shifflett family. Good folks looking to solve a loved ones horrible life taking...What a pitiful loss f a good man. But, Butch aint the guy... go chase real leads and hang real perps.

WestberleleyFlats, take note that I said "supposedly". Many people seem to think we have the best criminal justice and legal system in the world. It's not perfect, but it is a pretty good system overall.

I certainly don't think it's the best in the world. While the vast majority of cops are good, honest, decent and hard working individuals, the other other 3% to 5% of thwe loose cannons just ruins the entire process. And the police chiefs and sheriffs allow these loose cannons to roam the streets day in and day out. I can hardly wait to get up each morning and read about what these idiot loose cannons have done in the last 24 hours. Laughter is the best medicine. I chuckle every time I read the "bad cop" news lately.

Who thinks that the U.S. has the best criminal justice system in the world?

Despite the rambling of discraced x-sheriff deputy, this is a pretty understandable thing. Half know he is guilty, half are just a but shy of being able to convict. Is he guilty, most likely, did he commit a perfect crime??? We will see

quote: "I can hardly wait to get up each morning and read about what these idiot loose cannons have done in the last 24 hours. Laughter is the best medicine. I chuckle every time I read the ââ?¬Å?bad cop” news lately."

Here's my chuckle for today. It was waiting in my e-mail this morning. They go out on duty, arrest people for DUI, then out comes the drugs and alcohol as soon as they go off duty!


July 15, 2009

Fort Myers Officer Arrested for Florida DUI
Declares arresting officer is part of KKK.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Department was conducting a sobriety checkpoint early Saturday morning when they noticed a vehicle turn into a parking lot just before the traffic stop. Suspecting that the motorist was trying to avoid being checked for driving under the influence in Florida, officers went to investigate.

They found Leon Young, an officer with the Fort Myers Police Department, had bloodshot eyes and talked with a ââ?¬Å?thick tongue”. The officers noticed alcohol on his breath and a green leafy substance on his shirt that they suspected was marijuana. Canine deputies arrived on the scene and detected narcotics in the air, but no marijuana was found in the vehicle. Young refused to submit to a field sobriety test and just asked to be taken to jail. He later agreed to perform field sobriety tests and was subsequently placed under arrest for suspicion of Florida DUI.

When asked to take a breath test to check blood alcohol content, Young declared that the arresting officer was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, the arresting deputy’s father was a member of the KKK and that he would not take a breath test.

A spokesperson with the Fort Myers Police Department expressed disappointment, adding that it was not the type of conduct expected from its officers. Young has been placed on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation and an internal affairs investigation.