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Cooper Begins Life Sentence


Article contributed by The Journal Record

By Scott Johnson
General Manager

Double Springs - Convicted double homicide suspect Jimmy Dale Cooper, 63, has begun his life sentence in the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

According to Winston County Sheriff Horace Moore, Cooper transfered to state custody on Thursday, Aug. 19, after a three-month interlude since his trial on May 24.

The trial, which was five years old  and being held in Double Springs, abruptly ended in the first day of hearings after a guilty plea was brokered by 25th Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney Scott Slatton's office. In exchange for a confession to the slayings of Donnie Miller in and Linda Cole and the kidnapping of Scott Hunt in 2016, Cooper was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole, sparing him from a possible death penalty ruling by a jury.

According to the Alabama Department of Correction's (ADOC) website, Cooper is being held at the Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery.

Cooper, 63, will begin his life sentence in custody. On his ADOC web report, his release date is listed as      12/31/9999.

On Feb. 10, 2016, Cooper entered the law office of Scott Hunt in downtown Hamilton where he held the attorney at gunpoint and demanded that he call Donnie Miller to meet, who he had reportedly had a  business relationship with.

After 40 minutes of waiting, Miller, 67, entered the office and Cooper shot him in the back multiple times.

Cooper exited the office and headed south the Lawler & Cole accounting office, where he was a client, according to reports.

Cooper shot Linda Cole, 61, at least twice in the back and left the office where he was confronted by a Hamilton Police Officer, two Marion County Sheriff's Deputies and a private citizen. Cooper was injured during the ensuing shootout and taken into custody.

The defendant had previously pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Prosecutors were prepared to pursue the death penalty.

Jury trial
The 25th Judicial Circuit Court began trial proceedings on Monday, May 17, with jury selection lasting the entire week.

Sixteen jurors were empaneled on Friday, May 21, consisting of 12 members and four alternates. This included 13 women and three men of Winston County. The trial venue was transferred to Double Springs by request of Cooper's attorneys. Both Courts are served by the 25th Judicial Circuit.

Jury trial was set to begin with opening statements at 9 a.m. on May 24; however, proceedings were slow to begin due to a side bar meeting.

At approximately 10:10 a.m., Circuit Judge Lee called the court to order in the Winston courthouse's old courtroom and addressed a number of issues including a sick juror and cooling issues in the juror room.

Carter said that other complications had arisen with Cooper's trial itself, though, he said he was confident that they could be resolved. He ordered a recess until 1 p.m.

The Journal Record was alerted only a half-hour later (11 a.m.) that the Court would be returning to session for a hearing.

Carter announced that the defense had declared its intentions to enter into a guilty plea and to accept a life sentence without parole.

The defendant was represented by Jack Stanton Glasscox of Tuscaloosa, Brian White of Decatur and lead counsel Jim Standridge of Tuscaloosa. The prosecution team for the 25th Judicial Circuit Court District Attorney's office included Chief Deputy District Attorney Rachel Smith and Assistant District Attorney CeJe Hearn.

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