State parole board hearing four local cases in May

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The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will hold 161 parole hearings this month - including four inmates involving Walker County - as the board resumes hearings following postponements because of COVID-19. 

Hearings will start on May 19, state officials said in a release. While the hearings will be closed to public attendance, crime victims and other interested parties can send in written statements that will be considered by the board.

According to a release from the state, "Officials, crime victims, and crime victim representatives who receive notice of an upcoming parole or pardon hearing can submit their views to the Board via written statement.

"Those statements, along with the inmate’s name and AIS number, can be emailed to victim.services@paroles.alabama.gov or mailed to ATTN: Victim Services Unit, State of Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, 100 Capitol Commerce Blvd, Suite 310,  Montgomery, AL 36117. These written submissions must be received by the Board at least five business days before the scheduled hearing.

"Others wishing to express their support or opposition to a pardon or parole can do so by emailing their statements, along with the inmate’s name and AIS#, to notifications@paroles.alabama.gov or mailing them to ATTN: Board Operations Division, State of Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, 100 Capitol Commerce Blvd, Suite 310, Montgomery, AL 36117. These written submissions must be received at least five business days in advance of the scheduled hearing.

"If someone is unable to submit a written statement, that person can contact the Board by telephone at 334-242-8700 on or before the fifth business day proceeding the scheduled hearing. Those views will be summarized and added to the inmate’s file for the Board’s review."

Among the local cases to be considered are Justin Blake Cornelius, who is considered a violent offender, on May 19; Ralph Lynn Key, who is not a violent offender and who also cad cases in Jefferson and Winston counties, on May 26; Angela Gail Roberts, who is not a violent offender and who also has cases in Marion and Morgan counties, on May 26; and Charles Demario Cherry, who is considered a violent officer, on May 28.

Cornelius, who is at the Ventress Correctional Center, was scheduled for a parole hearing on March 18 before postponements due to the COVID-19 virus. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence for a 2011 second-degree robbery in Walker County. He has served seven and a half years of the sentence, which started in 2014. Walker County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested Cornelius, then 19, of Hayden, and an accomplice in connection with an armed robbery of a Goodsprings service station. The Daily Mountain Eagle reported surveillance footage showed two men entering the store, each wearing masks, one of them similar to those used in the “Friday the 13th” movies.

Key is being held in the Limestone Correctional Facility for leaving the scene of an accident with injury in Jefferson County and first-degree theft of property in Walker County. He has served 19 years of a 99-year sentence for the Jefferson County case. He was sentenced to 10 years in the Walker County case. 

Cherry is being held in the Limestone Correctional Center for first-degree robbery, distribution of a controlled substance and second-degree kidnapping in Walker County. He was sentenced in 2002 to 20 years each, with the distribution and kidnapping cases being current and the robbery case being consecutive. He has served nearly 18 years. 

Roberts case was also postponed from March. She is housed at the Montgomery Womens Facility and has served 3 1/2 years. She was sentenced to 15 years for manufacturing a controlled substance in Walker County, as well as possession and receiving a controlled substance in Morgan County and possession of a controlled substance in Marion County. She is serving a 48-month concurrent sentence for the Morgan County case, and 15 years each for the other two cases. The Walker case is consecutive and the Marion case is concurrent.