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Man charged with Westover double murder sentenced to life in prison

Published 3:42pm Monday, October 22, 2012

BY CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – A Birmingham man charged with capital murder in Westover in July 1996 was sentenced to life in prison without parole Oct. 11.

Then-18-year-old LaSamuel Gamble, along with Marcus Presley, 16 at the time, killed John’s Pawn Shop owner John Burleson and store manager Janice Littleton at the U.S. 280 store July 25, 1996. Gamble and Presley stole 33 firearms and jewelry. After a 15-day manhunt, authorities located Gamble and Presley in Norfolk, Va.

LaSamuel Gamble.

Gamble and Presley were charged with capital murder and sentenced to the death penalty. However, due to a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stated no one under 18 could be eligible for the death penalty, Presley’s sentence was reduced to life in prison, as he was 16 in 1996. Presley, now 33, is serving his sentence at the Donaldson Correction Facility, according to Alabama Department of Corrections records.

Judge J. Michael Joiner overturned Gamble’s death sentence in September 2007, according to an amended sentencing order. Joiner found Gamble’s counsel “ineffective at the penalty phase of his trial. The order stated the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with Joiner’s ruling.

On Oct. 11, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves sentenced Gamble to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gamble, now 34, will pay all court costs and $50 to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund in each case. Gamble also waived his right to appeal, according to the order.

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