New trial denied for man sentenced to life for rape

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a 30-year-old Tennessee man’s request for a new trial after he was sentenced in 2017 to life in prison for raping an Alabaster woman in 2014.


The Court of Criminal Appeals in late 2018 issued its final judgement denying the request from Matthew Zachary Spain for a new trial on his 2017 rape conviction in Shelby County Circuit Court.

In June 2017, Spain’s attorneys filed a request for a new trial and a request to reduce or vacate Spain’s life prison sentence.

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Bill Bostick sentenced Spain to life in prison on June 21, 2017, a few weeks after Spain was found guilty by a jury on one felony count of first-degree rape. The jury returned a not guilty verdict on a felony domestic violence charge against Spain, and an unlawful imprisonment charge was dropped through a plea agreement.

Spain previously listed an address on Windsor Court in Alabaster, but his most recent address was listed in Coopertown Road in Unionville, Tennessee.

The Alabaster Police Department arrested Spain on Nov. 8, 2014, and charged him with felony counts of first-degree rape and domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation and a misdemeanor second-degree unlawful imprisonment charge. He was indicted on the charges in June 2015, according to court records.

According to his arrest warrants, Spain’s charges stemmed from a Nov. 7, 2014, incident in which he did “engage in sexual intercourse with (the victim) by forcible compulsion,” according to his warrants.

In the request for a new trial, Spain’s attorneys had claimed his “verdict and sentence are contrary to law” and “contrary to the facts,” and claimed “there was insufficient evidence presented to warrant a conviction for rape in the first degree.” In the request to vacate Spain’s life sentence, his attorneys also claimed the sentence violated Spain’s constitutional rights.