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Christmas Tree in AL Courthouse Adorned with Murder Victims' Photos

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Houston County Courthouse in Alabama has a strangely themed Christmas tree this year. It's covered only in angels and crime victim ornaments. As in, ornaments containing the photos of murdered persons.

Though slightly morose, the tree is fueled by good intentions. VOCAL -- Victims of Crime and Leniency -- put up the tree to honor local murder victims during the holidays. But even good intentions can be problematic.

Local defense attorney Billy Sheffield is fighting the victim tree, calling it "highly prejudicial and inflammatory."

You see, the tree is located by the jury room. Sheffield is afraid that jurors will be influenced by the crime victim ornaments, reports the Dothan Eagle. He's thus filed 10 to 15 motions requesting that his criminal trials be rescheduled until the tree is removed.

All ruled upon petitions have since been denied.

It's quite possible that the judges just think Sheffield is trying for a month-long vacation. Pat Jones, the woman behind the victim tree, thinks so, explains the Eagle. Either that, or "he ain't ready for his cases."

Or it could be something even more nefarious.

Billy Sheffield could be a Grinch!

Or, you know, just trying to ensure that his clients have a fair trial -- even if it does make him look a bit silly and anti-Christmas.

So, do you think the crime victim ornaments will prejudice jurors? Would you go after the victim tree? Or would you leave them be in honor of the holiday spirit?

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