Shelby County district attorney retiring after 22 years

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

COLUMBINA—Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens will be retiring Oct. 1, if all goes according to plan.

Owens

Owens

“I’m still working with the governor on that (date),” said Owens, whose elected term expires in 2016.

Owens, who will be 65 in December, has spent “31 years in the business,” 25 of which have been in Shelby County.

Owens began his career in Jefferson County, where he served as assistant district attorney for six years before moving the Shelby County where he served as chief assistant district attorney before being elected as Shelby County district attorney, a position he has held for 22 years.

“It’s just kind of somebody else’s turn,” Owens said of his decision to retire.

Owens hopes Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint Jill Lee, who has served as Owens’ chief assistant district attorney for more than 10 years, as his replacement.

“(Lee) has earned the right to take my place,” Owens said. “Law enforcement in this county just depend on her.”

Following his retirement, Owens plans to continue working with his church, Riverchase Church of Christ, as a sojourner. Owens also plans to travel with his wife, Karen, and spend time with his four grandchildren.

No particular cases of his career are especially noteworthy, Owens said, because each case is important in its own way.

“Working with victims who have suffered a lot of loss, they’re all personal and all important,” Owens said.

Serving as district attorney has been “very intense” and “a lot of stress,” Owens said, but noted that he will miss the people in the office as well as trying cases.

“Prosecution is something you have to want to do,” Owens said. “It has to be a calling, a passion. It was for me.”