Jill Lee replaces retiring DA Robby Owens

By GINNY COOPER MCCARLEY / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Jill Lee as Shelby County district attorney Sept. 12, following Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens’ retirement.

Owens, whose elected term expires in 2016, recommended Lee serve as his replacement.

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

The appointment will be effective starting Oct. 1, Lee said. Lee has served as Owens’ chief assistant district attorney for more than 10 years, and will be the first woman district attorney to serve Shelby County.

“It is a tremendous responsibility in so many ways,” Lee said.

Owens told Lee about her appointment on Friday, Lee said, noting she “wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

“I’ve had the best trainer in the world,” Lee said of Owens. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn I’m not dealing with cases, I’m dealing with people and people’s lives.”

Lee said she plans to a lot of things “exactly the same” as her predecessor.

“For now, I will trudge on and do the things I know to do,” Lee said. “I hope that I will instill confidence in the people of this county and help to make it a safe place.”