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SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award, Best Radio Feature, "From NASA astronaut to confessed killer" APR

Please find enclosed Alabama Public Radio’s entry for the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Radio Feature, titled “From NASA astronaut to confessed killer.”

The three member Alabama Public Radio news team spent five years following this story, which began in 2016. That’s when prosecutors say James Halsell became intoxicated and crashed his car into another vehicle at one hundred miles per hour. The impact killed two sisters, thirteen year old Jayla Parler and eleven year old Niomi James.

For twenty four hours, most local news outlets didn’t know what they were covering. The prime suspect, James Halsell, had flown in space five times.

Please click here to listen to the story

APR’s feature combines coverage of the court proceedings where Halsell pleaded guilty to four felonies, with vintage tape from my six years’ experience covering his five Space Shuttle missions. That includes a one-on-one interview from the year 2000 with Halsell and APR news director Pat Duggins both sitting in the cockpit of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Halsell received four years in prison for his crimes.
APR's Pat Duggins