Death Row Inmates

Sherman Collins Alabama Death Row

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Sherman Collins was sentenced to death and remains on Alabama Death Row for the murder of Detrick Bell. According to court documents Sherman Collins was hired to murder Detrick Bell who would be fatally shot at a rap concert. Sherman Collins would be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death

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An appeals court has upheld the capital murder conviction and death sentence of a New Orleans man condemned to die for a contract killing in west Alabama.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals turned away a challenge by death row inmate Sherman Collins on Friday.

The 43-year-old Collins was convicted in the shooting death of Detrick Bell in Sumter County in 2012. Evidence showed he was hired to kill Bell, who was shot to death at a small-town rap concert.

Collins claimed the judge who sentenced him to die didn’t give enough consideration to his rough childhood and lack of a father figure.

The court turned away that challenge. It also ruled that the death penalty for Collins wasn’t out of line with the sentence in similar cases.

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A Sumter County jury voted last week to recommend the death penalty to a New Orleans man hired to kill 31-year-old Sumter County resident Detrick Bell in 2012.

Earlier this month, the jury convicted Sherman Collins of capital murder for pecuniary gain and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Last week, the jury voted 10-2 to recommend that Collins be put to death. In January, Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway is scheduled to consider the jury’s vote and impose sentencing.

“There was just no mitigation in this case,” 17th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Griggers told “He was a contract killer.”

John Stamps, a defense attorney in the case, said he and lead attorney Kyra Sparks didn’t think it would be appropriate to comment on the case until after Collins was sentenced, but he said the defense “most definitely” plans to appeal the verdict.

Bell was shot and killed during a rap concert at the Morning Star Community Center, near Cuba, Ala., at about 1:30 a.m. on June 17, 2012, according to the Sumter County Record-Journal.

“In a nutshell, the evidence that we presented shows that Sherman was paid – offered payment – by another individual to kill Detrick Bell, the victim in the case, and that’s what he did,” Griggers said. “When he got to the Morning Star Community Center, he was armed with a pistol, and he walked up and shot him in front of a handful of witnesses pretty much at point black range.”

Collins, who was 36 at the time of the murder, used an “extremely large caliber handgun,” Griggers said. The .454 handgun “caused such extensive damage to the victim’s head that the pathologist initially thought that it must have been a shotgun slug,” Griggers said.

Sumter County resident Kelvin Wrenn is suspected of hiring Collins for the murder, and could face trial in the spring, Griggers said. The state is not seeking the death penalty for Wrenn.

“According to the shooter, Sherman Collins, he said it had something to do with a beef that the guy that paid him had with Mr. Bell, something that had happened four or five year prior to,” Griggers said.

“He had access to this victim – the guy that paid him – for those four or five years, so I don’t know why they would have picked this night to get even, but that’s what [Collins told investigators], anyway.”

The prosecution’s case lasted about three days. The defense did not put on a case. Asked if that was unusual in a capital case, Griggers said no.

“Both sides were pretty much stuck with the witnesses who were there, and I felt like we did a good job of bringing to court anybody who had firsthand knowledge of what happened out there that night, or who had firsthand knowledge of the conspiracy I think that existed to kill our victim,” Griggers said. “I don’t think there would have been anybody they could have brought as a defense witness that could have added anything.”

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before convicting Collins, according to Griggers.

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