The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 26, 2013

Athens mom comments on life sentence for daughter's murder



The hearing

Wearing gray and white prison clothes and with his hands cuffed in front of him, Anderson stood before Judge Baker Friday and confirmed his wish to plead guilty to murdering Defoe.

Martha told The News Courier she was glad Anderson, whom she calls by the first name Lamont, did not deny anything at the hearing. She had only one regret about the case not going to trial; that Limestone County residents should have heard the heinousness of the crime.

Anderson will be taken to Kilby prison initially but may be transferred to another prison to serve out his sentence, Jones said. Although Anderson will be eligible for parole at some point, Jones said he doubts the state will ever release him. If it does, Jones said, Anderson would probably be 80 years old before it happened.

Martha said the district attorney met Thursday with the Defoe family to ask if it would be all right to try to plea bargain the case if prosecutors felt they would be unable to prove the burglary charge, which would have been necessary to obtain a conviction on capital murder. Capital murder is a murder committed in the commission of certain felonies, such as burglary, rape or kidnapping. Jones said there was no evidence of rape found at the crime scene, and kidnapping could not be proved due to the unreliability of a witness who claimed to have seen Anderson and Defoe the night of the murder.

Defoe was seeking assistance at a domestic violence shelter at the time of the murder and had previously obtained a protection order to keep Anderson at bay, her mother said. Her body was found inside the abandoned school by Athens police officers who had been called to the scene after a passerby saw a woman’s shoes, book bag, coat and signs of a struggle in the area. Martha said her daughter was struggling to break free of Anderson, and that sometimes she would return to him by choice and other times he made her return by beating her and making threats of harm.

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