Former Death Row inmate gets nearly 20 years in federal prison for gun charge

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Montez Spradley, BY AL DOC

By Carol Robinson | [email protected]

A former death row inmate who served time for the 2004 murder of a Mountain Brook Middle School lunchroom cashier has been sentenced to federal prison on an unrelated gun charge.

Montez Vantarus Spradley, 37, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison, according to a joint announced Monday by Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney Jay Town and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

“Spradley spent the last 17 years traveling through the revolving doors of overwhelmed state courthouses and over-crowded prisons,” Town said. “His next 19 years will be spent locked away in a federal prison.”

According to court documents, Tuscaloosa police on March 26, 2019 responded to a domestic violence call at the apartment where Spradley lived with his girlfriend. They found her bleeding from a head wound that she received when Spradley struck her with a pistol during an argument.

Officers recovered the pistol and a loaded magazine from a bedroom closet at the residence. When officers arrested Spradley for domestic violence, they found in his pocket a second magazine containing identical ammunition.

Spradley was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to the single charge in August 2019. He was sentenced Jan. 9, 2020 by U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon sentenced Montez Vantarus Spradley, 37, for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Spradley pled guilty to the single count indictment in August 2019.

Town said Spradley’s sentence was driven by his extensive criminal history, which included prior convictions for second-degree assault, felony murder, intimidating a witness, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, and possession of a controlled substance.

Spradley had been sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2008 by former Jefferson County Circuit Judge Gloria Bahakel in the murder of 58-year-old Center Point resident Marlene Jason, was shot to death Jan. 9, 2004 when she returned home from clothes shopping for her grandchildren.

But the conviction and death sentence were unanimously overturned on appeal when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found Bahakel improperly allowed video and surveillance photos and hearsay testimony.

Spradley eventually pleaded guilty in 2013 to murder and intimidation of a witness in connection with the slaying of Jason and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in 2015 despite the 10-year sentence because of jail and prison time credit.

“ATF’s priority of removing the criminal element that uses firearms in domestic violence situations is clearly evident with this sentencing,” Marcus said.

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