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James Chris Spencer
James Chris Spencer

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Spencer indicted for killing mother

Published 3:25pm Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Russellville man accused of killing his mother in September 2013 was indicted by a recent grand jury, courthouse officials said.

James Chris Spencer, 46, of 704 Green Ave., Russellville, was indicted on the charge of murder in the death of his 65-year-old mother, Rosalyn R. (Jo) Spencer.

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said Spencer was indicted by the March session of the Franklin County grand jury.

The murder indictment is the result of an incident that allegedly took place during the first week of September 2013.

According to Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett, Jo Spencer’s body was discovered on the night of Sept. 5, 2013, inside the Green Avenue residence she shared with her son.

Hargett said officers were alerted to the situation after receiving a welfare call about 7 p.m. on Sept. 5.

“A neighbor called and said she was worried about her because she hadn’t talked with her in three or four days,” Hargett said.

He said the neighbor said they talked every day and no one had talked with her since Sunday.

“Our officers made entry and we found her body on the bedroom floor and there was evidence of a struggle,” he said.

Hargett said there were obvious wounds on Jo Spencer’s body and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences officially listed the cause of death as a deep stab wound to the abdomen, although the reports show she was also strangled and beaten during the attack.

Hargett also said when they found her body, it appeared she had been deceased for at least 2-3 days.

Police investigator Lt. Scotty Lowery said Chris Spencer was developed as a suspect during the course of the investigation, which was conducted with the help of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Lowery said officers located Spencer the following morning at Helen Keller Hospital where he was being treated for an apparent drug overdose.

Hargett said an arrest warrant for the charge of murder was issued for Spencer on the afternoon of Sept. 6 but he was unable to be taken into custody while still a patient at the hospital so he remained under guarded condition until he was released from hospital care on Sept. 8.

Lowery said Spencer was immediately taken into custody at that time.

Franklin County District Judge Paula McDowell set Spencer’s bond at $500,000 at a bond hearing on Sept. 9.

Spencer has been in custody since his arrest at the Franklin County Jail.

Rushing said Spencer’s case will be placed on the arraignment docket within the next two months.

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