Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said Ira Jerome Morris went before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles last week and was denied parole.
Morris, of Jasper, was indicted in 1996 for the murder of Sissy Lawson, a 27-year-old Jasper resident.
Morris and James Johnson of Jasper were convicted of killing and robbing Lawson, who was a clerk at a BP gas station on Old Highway 78. Adair said Johnson was the shooter.
Morris pleaded guilty to murder in 1999 and was sentenced to 30 years in state prison. Adair said Morris agreed to testify against Johnson as a part of his plea deal.
Brian Warren, an assistant district attorney, went to Montgomery with members of Lawson’s family to attend the parole hearing. He said the Board ruled that Morris would not be eligible for parole again for at least five years, which is the maximum period of time allowed by law. “We were happy with the Board’s decision,” Warren said. “This was a terrible crime and Morris needs to be in prison for the length of his sentence.”
Adair said his office makes an effort to keep in touch with victims of violent crimes or their family members. He said attending parole hearings and supporting those victims is an important part of what the DA’s Office does.
“We prosecute cases, but we are also here after the trials and sentencing is over,” he said. “We care about these families and we want to continue to do our part to make sure the people who commit violent crimes stay in prison as long as they possibly can.”