Blackerby’s murder conviction appealed to state court

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

MONTGOMERY – Attorneys for a Maylene man who was convicted last year of killing a 19-year-old victim with a baseball bat during a 2015 incident has appealed the conviction to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, according to court documents.

Blackerby

Attorneys representing Eric Matthew Blackerby appealed the case to the state appeals court in late December 2017 after Blackerby’s request for a new trial in Shelby County Circuit Court was denied in November.

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge William Bostick denied the new trial request for Blackerby on Nov. 29, 2017, about a month-and-a-half after Blackerby’s attorneys filed the request, claiming “numerous constitutional errors” were committed during his trial, and claiming his sentence of life in prison constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.”

In September 2017, Bostick sentenced Blackerby to life in prison for killing William Neff during a “violent attack” with an aluminum baseball bat at an outdoor area known as “the slab” on July 29, 2015.

Witnesses previously testified Eric Blackerby’s brother, Andrew Blackerby, was on top of Neff hitting him when “Eric Blackerby approached and then hit Neff in the head with a baseball bat with a great amount of force.”

In their request for a new trial in Circuit Court, Blackerby’s attorneys Erskine Mathis and Samuel Holmes claimed the court “erred in allowing the state to amend the indictment the week before trial” to remove references to “multiple blows” with the baseball bat leading to Neff’s death.

On the day Blackerby was sentenced, Bostick denied Blackerby’s request to delay the sentencing to allow him to apply for youthful offender status on the murder conviction. Blackerby’s attorneys based their argument for the sentencing delay on the indictment change.

Before Bostick denied the request to delay sentencing, he said the changes to the indictment only removed “surplusage,” and said it “did not affect the degree or fact of the crime.”

Mathis and Holmes also claimed the court violated Blackerby’s Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights, and claimed the evidence in the case “indicated that the defendant should be sentenced at the low end of the sentencing range” rather than receive life in prison.

In an order issued on Dec. 29, 2017, Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Mary Windom ordered the Circuit Court to provide transcripts of the case to the Appeals Court by Jan. 22.