Collier Sues Gov. Bentley Over Termination, Execution Date Set for Alabama Prisoner

Apr 20, 2016

Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison

Former Alabama law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier is suing Governor Robert Bentley for wrongful termination and defamation.

Collier was fired for allegedly misusing state funds, according to Gov. Bentley and interim Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Stan Stabler. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is currently reviewing that accusation. Collier had been placed on medical leave by the governor about a month prior for what was described as an upcoming back surgery.

Immediately after he was fired, Collier accused Governor Bentley of having a longstanding affair with top adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, substantiated by several leaked audio recordings. The former ALEA head argues he was wrongfully dismissed after refusing to lie to a state prosecutor regarding the status of House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics investigation.

Governor Bentley insists Collier was fired for cause and was never asked to lie. He says the state will aggressively defend the lawsuit.

The Alabama Supreme Court has set an execution date for a man convicted of killing a Mobile police officer in 1985. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Vernon Madison is set to be put to death on May 12.

He was convicted of killing Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte back in 1985.

Schulte was responding to a domestic dispute involving Madison. Lawyers for the attorney general's office say trial evidence showed Madison crept up and shot Schulte in the back of the head as he sat in his police car.

Madison's lawyer wrote in court papers that his client has been mentally incapacitated by strokes and mental illness.

He’s being held on death row at W.C. Holman Correctional Facility at Atmore, where the executions take place.

The state carried out its first execution in more than two years back in January.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is hoping to get people moving this morning.

The health insurance company is sponsoring the National Walk At Lunch Day at Montgomery's Riverwalk Stadium starting at 10:30 a.m The event is designed to encourage busy people to take a walk during their lunch break at work and begin a healthy routine.

Brian DeMarco is a Media Specialist with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. He expects a good turnout.

“We’re going to have health vendors set up. They’re going to be doing blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, things like that. They’ll be other health and wellness vendors supporting outdoor living, things like that. Or outdoor activity, I’m sorry. It’s just going to be a good day to come out and start getting healthy with us.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield is also holding events in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile next Wednesday.

State senators voted not to hear a bill that would have allowed the legal operation of electronic gambling machines at VictoryLand dog track.

Democratic Senator Billy Beasley was short of the votes needed to bring the bill up for debate yesterday.

Senator Beasley says he wanted to allow VictoryLand to have the same type of gambling machines currently operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Beasley said it was a fairness issue because the tribe operates similar machines at its three casinos in Alabama. The tribe and the casinos are under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Last month, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled VictoryLand's electronic bingo machines are illegal under state law, overturning an earlier decision by Montgomery circuit judge William Shashy.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he plans to reopen his casino despite the court ruling.