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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2019

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Announces Court of Criminal Appeals Upholds Murder Conviction in Limestone County

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that on Friday the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of Benjamin Cordell Waddle. Waddle, 30, of Madison, was convicted in Limestone County Circuit Court in August 2018 for the murder of Michael Peoples.

The evidence at trial showed that on August 3, 2015, Waddle and Peoples visited the home of Thomas Smith to rehearse a rap music act. Waddle and Peoples got into an argument in Smith's den, which culminated with Waddle pulling a large, military-styled knife from a sheath on his side and stabbing Peoples in the back, shoulder, and hand. Peoples died from those wounds a short time later.

Waddle admitted that he stabbed Peoples but claimed at trial that he did so in self-defense. However, the evidence showed that Waddle stabbed Peoples in the back, that he did not see Peoples with a weapon, and that Peoples had not made an overt
threatening action toward Waddle.

Limestone County District Attorney Brian C.T. Jones’ office prosecuted this case and obtained a guilty verdict. Waddle was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment for his conviction. Waddle sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal.

The Attorney General's Criminal Appeals Division 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 Friday, September 13. Attorney General Marshall commended Assistant Attorney General Stephen Dodd for his successful work on this case.

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The primary duty of the Attorney General is to serve as legal counsel to Alabama's state agencies, departments, and officers. Our office is prohibited by law from providing private citizens with legal advice, representation, or opinions (Code of Alabama, 1975, Title 36, Chapter 15). The Attorney General's Office does not handle any domestic cases (example: child support, child custody, divorce, etc.) or probate matters (real estate, wills, property disputes, etc.). To obtain an attorney or legal aid referral, you may contact the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at http://www.alabar.org or by calling 1-800-392-5660 .