Legislation to prevent inmates facing additional charges from being paroled passed through the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday.

House Bill 131 (HB131), sponsored by State Rep. Wes Kitchens (R-Guntersville), would prohibit prisoners from being eligible for parole while they still face active charges for another crime so long as the suspected crime carries a penalty over six months.

Kitchens said the bill came as a response to the 2018 triple murder in his district by a man paroled a year earlier.

Jimmy Spencer was sentenced to death in 2022 for the murder of Martha Reliford, Marie Martin and Martin's great-grandson, Colton Lee, in July 2018.

"While the guy was out of prison, had been paroled previously, committed these awful crimes, these brutal murders," Kitchens said. "While he was awaiting those charges, he was up for parole again. And so this closes that loophole.  

The bill passed but not without several Democratic lawmakers forcing lengthy debate.

The final vote in the House was 79-23. The bill will now go to the Senate for deliberation.

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