Teen sentenced to life for Spears killing, assault

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A Bibb County jury recommended a sentence of life without parole last Thursday for a teenager convicted of murdering a Randolph man in 2004.

Attorney General Troy King said jurors in Centreville found 18-year-old Troy Connell guilty of shooting 36-year-old Steven C. Spears Jr. and beating his wife, Monica Spears, with a chain.

The attack took place on Alabama Highway 139, approximately six miles from the Shelby County line on Dec. 10, 2004. The couple was returning home from a family gathering in Montevallo when a red SUV pulled alongside their car and fired shots into the driver&8217;s side window.

Connell was convicted of three counts of capital murder and one count of assault for his role in the drive-by shooting.

State prosecutors said Connell was 16 at the time of the murder and assault, and therefore not eligible for the death penalty. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years in prison for the assault conviction.

Monica Spears and an underage witness who was in the backseat of the SUV testified that Connell shot Spears in the neck with a shotgun, robbed him, and beat his wife. The juvenile, who was not identified in court due to his age, is facing a pending charge of hindering prosecution.

Lamar Killingsworth, the driver of the SUV, was convicted in March of three counts of capital murder and one count of assault for his role in the attack. A sentencing date has not set been set for Killingsworth, who could face the death penalty.

Connell&8217;s trial began Monday and the guilty verdict and sentence were handed down Thursday afternoon