Murder Victim's Family Speaks for First Time, Rallies for Justice


By Brittany Bivins

A murder victim's family speaks out for the first time -- about the case that sent a man to Alabama's death row 15 years ago.  Family members say the murder has shattered their community. Now, they say, they want to see the person responsible pay for it.

Poems, pictures and memories. It's all Lauretta Phillips has left of her husband, Tracy.

"He was fun, he was funny. He was mischievous, and he was beautiful. A handsome man," said Lauretta Phillips.

In May 1998, Lauretta and Tracy Phillips were at their Talladega home when investigators say a man named John Calhoun burst inside. Investigators say Calhoun shot Tracy Phillips, then sexually assaulted Lauretta, while the couple's daughter could hear it all.

"She snuck out and when into my bedroom where my husband lay dead and lay on top of her daddy, begging her daddy to please wake up. And there was blood everywhere," said Phillips.

Calhoun was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2000. Thirteen years later, no execution date is set. Family members say that's not justice.

"It is the person who committed the crime who gets all the help. My children can't go to college, I can't afford it. I'm on disability. He's given me hepatitis. I think it needs to be a shorter process," said Phillips.

Daniel Curry, the victim's son, says he doesn't want his tax dollars going to fund a prison which houses his father's convicted killer. "I'm still supporting the man that killed my father, and I mean anybody that has to deal with this right here and know the person who brought harm to their family is alive. My father didn't live 15 seconds, much less 15 years after this happened," said Curry.

Officials say executions in Alabama have slowed because of legal challenges to the way the state conducts them. The state last executed an inmate in July, the first since 2011.

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