Earnest James “L.A.” Files Jr., 57, of Alexandria is charged with solicitation to commit murder and conspiracy to commit murder; Ocie Lee Lynch, 32, Charles Andrew Joseph Hendrix, 23, and Calvin Haynes, 32, all of Birmingham, are charged with a total of eight counts of capital murder, with counts 1-4 involving the murder for hire and the remaining counts involving murder during the commission of burglary and robbery. Teresa Taylor, 54, of Alexander City has been charged with the same conspiracy counts as Files, and Jeremy Lee Cade, 22, has been charged with theft of property in the first degree involving the theft of Lazenby’s 2009 GMC Yukon after Lazenby was killed. Taylor and Cade have not yet been indicted.
The cases will be tried in front of retired Circuit Judge John Rochester. Both of Talladega County’s circuit judges, Julian King and Bo Hollingsworth, recused themselves.
During a hearing in October, Rochester ordered competency hearings and IQ tests for all four of the defendants. If any of the defendants is found to have an IQ of less than 70, the state would not be allowed to seek the death penalty against that defendant. Files, Lynch and Hendrix, but not Haynes, all entered pleas of not guilty by reason of severe mental disease or defect as well as pleas of not guilty in October. Haynes pleaded not guilty as well.
Giddens said Rochester’s orders have been sent to Taylor Hardin Secure Psychiatric Facility. Taylor Hardin will notify the courts of the test results when they are complete, he said. It was not immediately clear when that might be, however.
According to previous testimony, Files first approached Haynes about killing his girlfriend’s husband for $85,000 sometime in 2010, more than a year before the actual killing took place. Taylor represented herself as Lazenby’s wife at the time, although she was not.
Geanne Lazenby, his real wife, and the victim had been involved in a divorce that had dragged on for more than four years at the time of his death. She has not been charged with a crime in connection with the killing. Files had been employed by Geanne Lazenby as a gardener.
Haynes initially said he was not interested in killing Lazenby, but later mentioned the proposal to Lynch.
Lynch, Hendrix and Cade allegedly went to Lazenby’s house on Stonehill Road in Sylacauga on the night of his death and waited for him to return. He was then shot and stabbed to death.
In previous testimony, Lynch and Hendrix have pointed to each other as being the ones responsible for the fatal shots and blows.
Hendrix and Cade then allegedly drove the Yukon to Tarrant, where they met Files and Haynes, and torched the vehicle. It was the burned out SUV that eventually led investigators back to Lazenby’s home the next morning, when his body was discovered.
A conviction for capital murder carries a punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.