Pelham triple murder suspect denied youthful offender status - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Pelham triple murder suspect denied youthful offender status

Jon Staggs, Jr. mugshot from 2012. Source: Shelby Co. Jail Jon Staggs, Jr. mugshot from 2012. Source: Shelby Co. Jail

A Pelham man accused of killing three young men was in court today.

Jon Staggs, Jr. is facing capital murder charges. Wednesday, Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves allowed three additional charges of murder during a burglary to be added to the capital murder charges.

During the preliminary hearing Reeves denied a defense motion for youthful offender status for Staggs, who was less than 21-years-old at the time of the crime.

Staggs' attorney, Herbie Brewer of Walker County, asked the judge to compel the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to examine the their evidence in the case. Brewer said Staggs is indigent and cannot afford to bring in expensive experts.

"We feel like that it is appropriate for any citizen, especially where they are trying to take your life, ought to have the same benefits of those wonderful experts at the department of forensic sciences," Brewer said.

Judge Reeves also gave permission for Reeves to go to the home where there three men were shot and killed. The home is under new ownership. Brewer wants to examine the crime scene, taking measurements, videos and photos.

Brewer said the case was a tragedy where the three men were shot and killed but the attorney said his client insists it was not murder.

"There have been three young men killed in this case that is undisputed. Now people die but that doesn't mean it was the subject of murder," Brewer said.

No trial date has been set in the case.

Police accuse Staggs of killing 22-year-old Joshua Smith, 19-year-old Simeon Gilmore and 22-year-old Casey Cumberland Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012 in Smith's parent's Chandalar home.

The Cumberland family claims the killings stem from a $40 drug debt.

Related: Pelham PD charge triple slaying suspect with capital murder, burglary

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