This past week the Mississippi Court of Appeals denied a multi-part motion by Albert Lee McDonald for post-conviction relief related to a 2005 crime spree that left two people dead and three hospitalized.
About 5 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at a Bratton Road address, McDonald, then 24, apparently got into a domestic dispute with Denise Spight, shooting her. Harold Dye of New Albany and Tommy Thomas of Tupelo, who happened to be nearby, reacted to the shooting. McDonald also shot them.
At that point McDonald disappeared for a time. However, on Sunday, officers discovered the bodies of Chico and Charlotte Foote in their home, a short distance away on Martintown Road. The couple’s car was missing. Officials believed McDonald had taken it and left the state after shooting Foote and strangling his wife.
Spight, Dye and Thomas later recovered.
McDonald was arrested in Missouri five days later, after authorities traced a call he made to family members.
At trial, McDonald pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of burglary and one count of kidnapping.
He began filing the multiple appeals in 2015 with six arguments. He said he received ineffective counsel, he was a victim of double jeopardy, his plea was involuntary, his confession was involuntary, there was no factual basis for his guilty plea and some of the indictments were defective.
The court ruled several of the appeals were well beyond the statute of limitations and that he had clearly agreed to actions at the time that he now contested. As far as double jeopardy is concerned, the state retired to files all but one capital murder charge, one aggravated assault charge and one kidnapping charge so he was not ultimately convicted for two of any of the charges.
He is serving a 30-year sentence for kidnapping, 20 years for the aggravated assault and life for capital murder.
The crime drew attention due to the extent of it and because the Footes were well-known and well-liked in the community.
Charlotte Foote was the daughter of near-legendary coach Wade Ivy and had worked at both B. F. Ford Elementary School and the Bank of New Albany.
Chico Foote was a successful business owner of Midwest Merchandisers in Chicago. He later worked with Bluff City Nissan, where he had a well-known relationship with popular Memphis weather forecaster Dave Brown.
Foote was also an enthusiastic big game hunter. His large, mounted, wild animal collection is now on display at the Union County Heritage Museum.
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