Capital murder trial set for May for Taurus Carroll
by Elsie Hodnett
Feb 22, 2012 | 3191 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ASHVILLE — A trial date was set Tuesday for a St. Clair Correctional Facility inmate charged with two counts of capital murder.

Circuit Court Judge Phil Seay set the trial date for Taurus Carroll, 34, for May 21.

Carroll is charged with the Sept. 14, 2009, capital murder of Michael Turner, 24, who was serving a 3-year sentence from Montgomery County for robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Seay also set the date for an Atkins hearing at 1 p.m. Monday, April 9, at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Ashville.

District Attorney Richard Minor said any criminal defendant in Alabama who alleges they are mentally retarded must have an Atkins hearing to determine whether or not they are eligible for a death sentence.

Minor said the Code of Alabama defines mental retardation as “a person with significant sub-average general intellectual functioning resulting in or associated with concurrent impairments in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.”

“The court looks at adaptive functioning,” he said. “To meet that definition, the defendant first must show significant sub-average intellectual functioning — an IQ of 70 or below. Second, the defendant must show significant or substantial deficits in adaptive behavior. Third, those problems must have manifested themselves during the developmental period, before age 18. In order to be classified as mentally retarded under Atkins in Alabama, all three of those criteria must be met.”

Minor said an individual found by the court to be mentally retarded cannot receive a sentence of death under U.S. and Alabama law.

Former St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Charles Robinson ordered Carroll to undergo an IQ test and an adaptive functioning test. The IQ test was completed.

At the October 2011 status hearing, Seay re-ordered the adaptive functioning test, which is completed.

Defense attorneys Don Hamlin and Dennis Rushing requested a wording change to one of the jury questions and the prosecutors agreed to the change at Tuesday’s hearing.

Carroll is currently serving life without the possibility of parole stemming from a 1998 capital murder conviction in Jefferson County.

He was removed from the general inmate population in September 2009 after Turner was stabbed to death.

According to the first count of the indictment Carroll “did intentionally cause the death of Michael Darrell Turner by stabbing him with a prison made knife,” and that Carroll caused that death after having been convicted of another murder within the last 20 years.

The second count of the indictment, also for capital murder, stated Carroll intentionally caused Turner’s death while under the sentence of life in prison.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.