WAAY 31 I-Team Investigation: Jimmy Spencer's parole officer 'exceeded standards' in most recent personnel review

Brian Robinson has worked as a parole officer since 2016.

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 6:19 PM
Updated: Oct 26, 2018 3:37 PM

After two months of pressing the state for answers, the WAAY 31 I-Team learned more about a parole officer who was supposed to keep up with a man now at the center of a triple murder investigation in Guntersville.

The I-Team obtained the personnel file for Parole Officer Brian Robinson. He’s the Parole Officer for Jimmy Spencer. We discovered the board considers Robinson an “excellent” employee. Spencer who was paroled from a life-long sentence, walked away from a re-entry, arrested on drug charges and nothing was done until he was already in jail again, charged with killing three people.

Robinson worked as a Correctional Officer at Donaldson Correctional facility for about eight years before becoming a parole officer on November 1, 2016. The Pardon and Parole Board has not told us Robinson's case load.

The WAAY 31 I-Team filed an open records request for Robinson’s personnel file to see if anything like this has happened in his other cases. From the documents included in the file, it hasn’t.

The parole board gave him an “exceeding” expectations mark in May for his work, but he only “met standards” when it came to investigating an offenders personal, social, legal history and current circumstances. He was never written up or disciplined.

"I think everyone would like to know the outcome of their investigation, because things like this should never happen," said Joey Rushing, the Franklin County District Attorney. Rushing wrote many letters asking the parole board to keep Spencer locked up.

Police in Sardis arrested Spencer in June and sent his information to Robinson, but he didn’t follow up until three weeks later. Spencer was already out of jail. Robinson’s notes show he was talking with Spencer from January until the Sardis arrest, but it’s unclear if he ever knew Spencer’s location after he walked away from a re-entry program three weeks after his release.

"The fact that those were not good enough to have anyone to file a motion or even have a hold put on him is what everybody would like to know," said Rushing.

As of now, all we know is Robinson is still on the job as a parole officer. The Pardon and Parole Board said they completed an internal review of the Spencer case but won't say what, if any, changes could come about.

"That's why it's so important we get answers in this case," said Rushing.

The only disciplinary action against Robinson came when he was a correctional officer. That happened twice, because he didn’t show up for work or was late.

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