Sunday, December 21, 2014

D.A.: Forensic Evidence Shows Georgiana Murder Victim Was Raped, Death Penalty Eligibility Hearing Underway
By Catalina Trivino

New information in a capital murder case in Butler County -- prosecutors say a man charged with stabbing a 72-year-old woman to death in Georgiana also raped her. This information is being released to us as a hearing begins on whether he is eligible for the death penalty if he's convicted.


The District Attorney's office says they're pushing for at least death penalty eligibilty for Shawn McClain because of the manner in which Dorothy Leatherwood was killed -- but it's option that will be decided by a judge in the coming weeks.

It's the way Dorothy Leatherwood was murdered that has family members traumatized.

"You don't expect for somebody to walk into your home and snuff your life the way he did!" Said the victim's sister, Judy Pugh.

District Attorney, Charlotte Tesmer, says on the morning Leatherwood's body was found in her bedroom last November, she was barely clothed.

"The medical examiner in his report indicated there were contusions and abrasions," Said Tesmer.

A hearing for Shawn McClain is underway to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial and be eligible for the death penalty if he's found guilty. McClain's attorney, Brandon Sellers, says after a mental examination on McClain, he believes he won't be able to stand trial.

"He's severely limited as far as his I.Q. is... he's mentally retarded either moderate or mildly mentally retarded and his functioning and daily living skills puts him about the same as a first or second grader," Said Sellers.

"He had sense enough to do what he did. He had sense enough to work in the community and work and you know, he lived everyday just like normal people. Now, all of a sudden he doesn't have any sense? He's 'mentally retarded.' And I don't like that!" Said Pugh.


McClains attorney says he received an I.Q. of 46, and in order to be eligible for the death penalty, you have to score at least a 70.

On the prosecution's side, there were many questions about how McClain adapted to daily life. Currently, the decision on whether he'll be eligible for the death penalty is at a standstill until the judge reviews McClain's school records.

The judge will rule on McClain's eligibility in the coming weeks.

Alabama News Network will keep you updated on the outcome of this hearing.