Alabama Attorney General speaks on man who shot Bibb Co. deputies


Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is calling on the state’s criminal justice system to reevaluate its “ultra-lenient” incentive time law following the line-of-duty death of Bibb County K-9 Deputy Brad Johnson.Johnson, and Bibb County Deputy Christopher Poole, were both shot during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle last Wednesday in the Brierfield area. Johnson died from his injuries on Thursday at UAB Hospital.Convicted felon Austin Patrick Hall, 26, is accused of shooting the two officers and is in the Shelby County Jail on three counts of capital murder and attempted murder. Hall, who has a lengthy criminal history, was released from prison on April 8 after only serving about four years of a nine-year, nine-month sentence under Alabama’s “Good Time” law. Despite escaping from a work-release facility in 2019, Hall was still eligible to receive correctional incentive time.”Had the shooter served his entire sentence, he would not have been able to commit his brazen crime spree across our State, which ended in capital murder,” Marshall said in his statement. “Furthermore, an inmate who escapes custody should never, under any circumstance, be rewarded with early release.”Marshall also noted the 2021 line-of-duty death of Sheffield K-9 Sgt. Nick Risner, whose shooter was also released from jail years early on a manslaughter charge.Read Alabama’s “Good Time” law here.Read Marshall’s full statement here or below:“In the days since the death of Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Brad Johnson, my Office has undertaken a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the Bibb County shooter’s release from custody.“The shooter’s first encounter with the law came in 2016 as a result of theft and burglary charges, for which he was placed on probation. During his probationary period, he was arrested on nine new charges of theft and burglary. Pursuant to a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree theft and was sentenced in 2018 to nine years and nine months imprisonment in the Department of Corrections, likely due to his criminal history.“In 2019, while on work release with the Department of Corrections, the shooter escaped from custody and fled across state lines. He was recaptured shortly thereafter. Despite this, after serving less than four years of his sentence, the shooter was awarded correctional incentive time (good time), which was (and inexplicably remains) permissible under the state’s ultra-lenient incentive time law. The shooter ended his sentence on April 8, 2022, and was fully released from the Department of Corrections’ custody and supervision. “Days after his release from state custody, the shooter bonded out of jail on 10 new charges in Calhoun County and 12 new charges in Chilton County—including charges of assaulting a police officer and illegally possessing a firearm. In both counties, his bond was set in keeping with the recommended fee range. After he made bond, the shooter walked free to await his trial.“As was the case with the death of Sergeant Nick Risner last fall, this tragedy requires that we reassess the state laws and policies that abetted this shooter in the death of Deputy Brad Johnson. The People of Alabama have heard me say many times before that Alabama’s Correctional Incentive Time laws are broken. Had the shooter served his entire sentence, he would not have been able to commit his brazen crime spree across our State, which ended in capital murder. Furthermore, an inmate who escapes custody should never, under any circumstance, be rewarded with early release. “Lastly, the crime of assaulting a police officer should be a Class B*, not a Class C, felony and the bond schedule for assaulting a police officer must be increased to better account for the severity of this crime.“As I said last week, Alabama’s justice system failed the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Brad Johnson. I stand ready to partner with the Alabama Legislature to correct these deficiencies at the earliest opportunity and will continue to fight against any effort to further weaken Alabama’s criminal justice system.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is calling on the state’s criminal justice system to reevaluate its “ultra-lenient” incentive time law following the line-of-duty death of Bibb County K-9 Deputy Brad Johnson.

Johnson, and Bibb County Deputy Christopher Poole, were both shot during the pursuit of a stolen vehicle last Wednesday in the Brierfield area. Johnson died from his injuries on Thursday at UAB Hospital.

Convicted felon Austin Patrick Hall, 26, is accused of shooting the two officers and is in the Shelby County Jail on three counts of capital murder and attempted murder.

Hall, who has a lengthy criminal history, was released from prison on April 8 after only serving about four years of a nine-year, nine-month sentence under Alabama’s “Good Time” law. Despite escaping from a work-release facility in 2019, Hall was still eligible to receive correctional incentive time.

“Had the shooter served his entire sentence, he would not have been able to commit his brazen crime spree across our State, which ended in capital murder,” Marshall said in his statement. “Furthermore, an inmate who escapes custody should never, under any circumstance, be rewarded with early release.”

Marshall also noted the 2021 line-of-duty death of Sheffield K-9 Sgt. Nick Risner, whose shooter was also released from jail years early on a manslaughter charge.

Read Alabama’s “Good Time” law here.

Read Marshall’s full statement here or below:

“In the days since the death of Bibb County Deputy Sheriff Brad Johnson, my Office has undertaken a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the Bibb County shooter’s release from custody.

“The shooter’s first encounter with the law came in 2016 as a result of theft and burglary charges, for which he was placed on probation. During his probationary period, he was arrested on nine new charges of theft and burglary. Pursuant to a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree theft and was sentenced in 2018 to nine years and nine months imprisonment in the Department of Corrections, likely due to his criminal history.

“In 2019, while on work release with the Department of Corrections, the shooter escaped from custody and fled across state lines. He was recaptured shortly thereafter. Despite this, after serving less than four years of his sentence, the shooter was awarded correctional incentive time (good time), which was (and inexplicably remains) permissible under the state’s ultra-lenient incentive time law. The shooter ended his sentence on April 8, 2022, and was fully released from the Department of Corrections’ custody and supervision.

“Days after his release from state custody, the shooter bonded out of jail on 10 new charges in Calhoun County and 12 new charges in Chilton County—including charges of assaulting a police officer and illegally possessing a firearm. In both counties, his bond was set in keeping with the recommended fee range. After he made bond, the shooter walked free to await his trial.

“As was the case with the death of Sergeant Nick Risner last fall, this tragedy requires that we reassess the state laws and policies that abetted this shooter in the death of Deputy Brad Johnson. The People of Alabama have heard me say many times before that Alabama’s Correctional Incentive Time laws are broken. Had the shooter served his entire sentence, he would not have been able to commit his brazen crime spree across our State, which ended in capital murder. Furthermore, an inmate who escapes custody should never, under any circumstance, be rewarded with early release.

“Lastly, the crime of assaulting a police officer should be a Class B*, not a Class C, felony and the bond schedule for assaulting a police officer must be increased to better account for the severity of this crime.

“As I said last week, Alabama’s justice system failed the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Brad Johnson. I stand ready to partner with the Alabama Legislature to correct these deficiencies at the earliest opportunity and will continue to fight against any effort to further weaken Alabama’s criminal justice system.”



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