MONTGOMERY – Members of the Bibb County Sheriff's Office were on hand Thursday at the State House to speak in favor of legislation that would change how state inmates' "good-time" credits are accrued.
Bibb County deputies Brad Johnson and Chris Poole were shot in the line of duty in June by a recently released inmate and repeat felon, Austin Patrick Hall. Johnson died from gunshot wounds. Poole survived and attended a press conference in support of the legislation on Friday.
After the shooting, Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Mashall and others expressed condolences to the families and outrage that Hall was released from prison.
"It hit close to home for me, both emotionally and geographically, because Deputy Johnson was murdered essentially at the foot of our driveway," State Sen. April Weaver (R-Brierfield) told 1819 News in a recent interview. "So I have been involved in the situation from the beginning."
Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said at a press conference on Thursday said, "the subject that had done this had done roughly three years of his 10-year sentence and had been out roughly three days before he shot my Deputy and murdered my friend."
"I'm asking for all the support in the world that you can provide to help make sure that this Brad Johnson Act is passed, so nobody else has to go through the nightmare that we've endured," Wade said.
Poole said losing one of his colleagues and friend "was a horrible time not only for Bibb County but also for law enforcement."
"I lost a friend," Poole said at the press conference. "I lost a brother."
Poole said legislation sponsored by Weaver and State Rep. Russell Bedsole (R-Alabaster) is "going to save the lives of many."
"Not only us, but it's going to save the lives of our citizens around the state…and to know it is in Brad's honor it means the world to me," Poole said.
Weaver told 1819 News recently that "accruing good time is currently treated as a rule that is rarely, if ever, suspended, not as a privilege that is earned only through compliant actions and proper behavior."
"I believe that Alabama is being invaded by soft-on-crime, liberal lawyers who are being sent here to address things like this," Weaver said at the press conference. "In Alabama, we are a very conservative state. We love our law enforcement officers. We are going to protect our victims, and we want to focus on public safety, and that is the focus that we will have in this bill."
Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, and Bedsole also spoke in favor of the legislation on Thursday.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.