August 7, 2009
Judge overrules jury, issues death penalty
By Marty Roney
Circuit Judge John Bush overruled the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Calvin McMillan to the death penalty on Friday for killing a man in a Millbrook Wal-Mart parking lot.
McMillan, 20, of Opelika, was convicted in June of two counts of capital murder in the shooting death of James Bryan Martin, 23, a father of two. The jury that convicted him voted 8-4 in favor of recommending the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Martin’s family burst into tears when Bush announced that McMillan would face the death penalty.
“Of course the family is very pleased by the judge’s decision,” said District Attorney Randall Houston. “But this of course will not bring their loved one back. Bryan Martin was a loving father, husband and son. He had a full life ahead of him.”
McMillan’s defense attorneys said they were disappointed in the judge’s decision.
“We obviously felt that the judge should have accepted the jury’s recommendation of life in prison without parole.,” said Kenny James, one of McMillan’s attorneys.
Martin was gunned down the night of Aug. 29, 2007, in the Millbrook Wal-Mart parking lot. Prosecutors proved that McMillan killed Martin during the theft of Martin’s 2004 Ford F-150 pickup. Martin had stopped by the store that night on the way home from a Montgomery Biscuits game to pick up diapers and baby wipes.
McMillan shot Martin four times. The last shot was fired after McMillan pulled Martin from his pickup. McMillan got into the truck, then jumped back out and shot Martin as he lay on the asphalt. McMillan then got back into the truck and sped away.
Prosecutors pursued capital murder charges because Martin was killed during the commission of a robbery and McMillan fired into an occupied vehicle.