Dale Barrett served for the last several days as a juror in the Bryan Martin murder trial. The trial for Calvin McMillan(above, left)ended last week with a verdict of guilty on both charges against him. The sentencing portion of the trial began on Monday and after a few hours of deliberation, the jury recommended a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Needless to say, because of the especially brutal nature of this particular crime there has been a bit of an uproar over the lack of the death penalty being imposed in this case. Here is Dale’s account of how the jury came to this rather unpopular conclusion of the sentencing phase of this trial.
By: Dale Barrett
Let me begin by saying this is the first time I have ever been a part of the judicial system, at least in this area. The DA’s office did an outstanding job on presenting everything one would ever need to convict someone in a case like this. The defense attorneys were very professional and didn’t attempt to take anything away from the tragedy that this case revolved around. This jury was composed of twelve reasonable, fair-minded people. The prosecution answered any and all questions that were asked and showed a mountain of evidence which was enough to convict this thug of both crimes that he was charged with. It only took an hour and a half to unanimously vote guilty on both charges.
On Monday, the penalty phase of this trial opened and again was handled very well on both sides. Still, all the evidence was there that one would need to sentence Calvin McMillan to death. It was a cold-blooded intentional murder of a man that had simply stopped to get diapers and wipes to take care of his family. Calvin McMillan lurked in the parking lot for almost 40 minutes before Bryan Martin went in and then exited Wal-Mart with his purchases. He approached Martin and shot him three times before getting into the truck and putting it into drive. He then put it back into park and got out, bent over the near lifeless body of Bryan Martin and fired a fourth shot to “make sure” he was dead, then sped away to Montgomery.
Once arrested, his alibi was built upon nothing but lies that he was caught in time and time again. He was smarter than he was given credit for by his defense which argued that he was just above mild mental retardation. They went through his whole childhood of being born to a crack-addicted, alcoholic mother. He and his sisters lived a life that nobody should ever have to suffer through; abandonment, hunger and abuse among many other things. His mother’s boyfriend regularly beat all three of them with anything that he could get his hands on during his fits of rage. They rarely had running water, electricity, or any food. I agree that this was indeed an awful childhood.
They finally were removed from that home and lived with their aunt who took care of them on and off until a divorce in her life forced her to put them into foster care. His sisters did fine with this and turned out fine. They have murdered no one. Calvin, however, went through 20-25 different placements with foster parents, depending on how you count them. He had numerous opportunities to take advantage of the counseling that the defense stated he needed so desperately. Contrary to whatever you may hear from various sources, he, in one way or another, turned them all away.
In the end, he was in the last program that DHR placed him in and while there he assaulted another student and eventually emancipated himself out of this program. For that altercation, he was charged with assault. This was EIGHT months prior to the murder of Bryan Martin. He was evaluated by several doctors through his time in and out of state run programs and NONE of these doctors noted anywhere that he had any mental disorder that would render him not responsible for his actions. The doctor that the defense relied on most even put it in writing that Calvin does not have any problem judging right from wrong and doesn’t need any medications to control his actions/aggressiveness. I think that spoke volumes for the prosecution’s argument and should have done the same in the minds of all of the jurors. Obviously it didn’t.
We deliberated most of the morning and all afternoon until about 3:00 p.m. I was asked to pray that we all make the right decision and that most importantly, God’s will be done. Our first two votes weren’t enough to make a recommendation either way. The third however has been well covered by now through all of the local media outlets. I, along with three other ladies, voted for the death penalty to be the appropriate sentence. The defense had proven nothing new but insisted that he can’t be held fully responsible for his actions due to the way he was raised. Eight of the jurors bought this argument hook, line, and sinker, and the rest is history.
I was absolutely disgusted that this thug that took Bryan Martin’s life was going to get to sit in prison and do exactly the same thing that he has done his entire life…live off the taxpayer. Some of those dollars will come from the very family that this has affected the most, the Martin family. I will be able to rest at night knowing that I did my part to have this criminal penalized in a fair and just way. One day, hopefully, people will again believe that a person should be held responsible for their actions and be punished appropriately for the crimes they commit.