FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
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AG STRANGE ANNOUNCES THAT COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
UPHOLDS COVINGTON COUNTY COLD CASE MURDER CONVICTION
(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday upheld the felony murder conviction of
Eugene Wallace Black. Black, 55, of Andalusia, was convicted in August of 2015 for the
murder of James “Nibby” Barton.
Evidence was presented at trial showing that on the morning of May 2, 1994,
Black and others discussed their need for money, and one of Black’s associates
mentioned that Barton possessed large amounts of cash at his convenience store. Black
later asked that associate for a pistol, and she gave one to Black. Black left with others
and returned approximately an hour later and told the woman that the “[r]obbery went
In 2013, Covington County Sheriff’s Investigator John Snodgrass of the Cold
Case Task Force reinitiated the investigation of the murder of Barton. A former
employer of Black testified at trial that in 2013, Black told him that he was nervous
about the renewal of the investigation of Barton’s murder, and admitted that he had
killed Barton during the robbery.
The case was prosecuted at trial by Covington County District Attorney Walt
Merrell’s office. Black was sentenced to 70 years imprisonment for his felony murder
conviction. He subsequently sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal.
The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Section handled the case during the
appeals process, arguing for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm the
conviction. The Court did so in a decision issued on Friday, September 2.
Attorney General Strange commended Assistant Attorney General Cecil
Brendle of the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Section for his successful work in
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