Jody Byrd sentence doesn't bring family closure - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jody Byrd's 99-year sentence doesn't bring family closure

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BIBB COUNTY - AL -

A Bibb County Circuit Judge sentence Jody Byrd to 99 years in prison for the 1999 murder of his wife Desta.

The victim's parents fought back tears, but said the sentence doesn't end their pain. "Until I'm good enough -- and she's [wife, Desta's mother] good enough that we can meet here in heaven(tears), no closure (sniffling)," cried Desta's father, Ronald Dodson.

It took 14 years to develop the case against Jody Byrd.  Most of the evidence was circumstantial.

In February 1999, Byrd called 911 saying he had just arrived hoe from work and found Desta shot in their driveway.  Prosecutor Pamela Casey said it was a lie. "He never once told law enforcement while I was waiting on emergency crews to get their for my wife...I decided I'd go in, take off my shirt, take in the mail, take in my sunglasses, take my lunch box in."

Byrd's attorney Joe Bassgier is already preparing an appeal. "Our opinion is there was not sufficient evidence to find Jody Byrd guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Six witnesses spoke on Byrd's behalf.  But, it didn't stop the Judge from giving him the maximum sentence. "Jody maintains his innocence. And we're going to appeal this case and we're going to keep fighting," added his attorney Bassgier.

In the meantime, Desta's parents say for a while they believed Byrd had nothing to do with their daughter's death.  But, they became fully convince during the trial.  "He said when he picked her up that her eyes were rolling backwards and that he heard a gurgling and according to the forensics that all happened with in two minutes," said Vonciel Dodson, Desta's mother.  "At the time, I guess as they say I couldn't' see the forest for the trees," added her father.

Prosecutors also want  Byrd to pay $278,000 in restitution.  However, the judge did not rule on that Wednesday.

 

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