St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill denied a motion this week for a new trial filed by Pell City attorney Don Hamlin on behalf of Michael Brandon Kelley, 30, who was convicted of the capital murder and sexual torture of Emily Milling, 23, of Leeds.
In November, Hill followed the 10-2 recommendation of a St. Clair County jury and sentenced Kelley to death.
Kelley is awaiting execution at the Holman Correctional Facility. There is an automatic appeal in all death penalty cases.
Hamlin asked for a new trial for Kelley based on insufficient information provided by the arresting officer for the search warrant of Kelley’s vehicle and mobile home. The evidence collected inside the suspect’s vehicle and home helped convicted him last September.
Hamlin also alleged that the warrants could only be served during the day.
“It was executed at 11:30 p.m.,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin also asked the courts for a post-verdict judgment of acquittal.
The defense attorney wrote that “the trial judge erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress the search warrants in that the affidavits for the search warrants issued in the above styled case were deficient.”
He alleged evidence against his client was gathered by authorities with illegal search warrants.
“Since the affidavits do not contain the proper requirements, then probable cause never existed for the search warrants to be issued,” Hamlin wrote.
He also said the trial judge erred in denying defense counsel’s motion for a mistrial or in the alternative continuance for time to investigate new evidence discovered during the trial.
The courts appointed Pell City attorney Jennifer Sellers for Kelley’s appeal.
In September, Kelley was found guilty of the capital murder and sexual torture of Emily Milling.
At the criminal trial, Kelley took the stand and blamed the murder on two men he met through work. He denied he killed Milling.
The jury apparently did not believe Kelly’s story and delivered a unanimous guilty verdict. Within an hour after deliberation, the jury also recommended by a 10-2 vote Kelley face the death penalty for his actions.