Owens retires as district attorney after 31 years

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA – Reminiscing, laughter and honor. Those are three ways to describe the retirement ceremony of longtime Shelby County District Attorney Robert Owens held on Sept. 24.

Robby Owens is retiring as Shelby County district attorney after 31 years in prosecution.

Robby Owens is retiring as Shelby County district attorney after 31 years in prosecution.

The retirement ceremony was filled with numerous awards and plaques given to Owens from different departments and individuals who have worked with Owens over the years.

Funny stories were exchanged along with an endless supply of kind words for Owens, who is retiring after 31 years in prosecution including nine as an assistant district attorney in Jefferson County and 22 years in Shelby County.

Shelby County sheriff Chris Curry praised Owens for the years of dedication and professionalism on behalf of all the law enforcement in Shelby County.

“The three P’s, personal, professional and political and you have been every one of those and I really do appreciate it,” said Curry. “Our plaque says in honor and recognition of an excellent career filled with pride, dedication and superb ability.”

In addition to being the Shelby County district attorney, Owens also initiated the non-profit agency called Owens House in 1993. According to the website, it was an effort to coordinate the Shelby County community’s response to child abuse. Designed to be a safe and friendly environment for any child who walks through the doors, everything at Owens House conveys the child is important and respected by the adults who work there.

Owens discussed what he wanted to be remembered for most after 31 years as well as the highest compliment he’s ever received.

“I suppose the highest compliment I’ve ever gotten paid was when someone told me I’ve learned a lot of things from a lot of people and from you I learned to be fair,” said Owens. “If there’s anything I want to be remembered for it’s that.”

Shelby County chief assistant district attorney Jill Lee has been appointed to replace Owens on Oct. 1.