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The WAAY 31 I-Team received an award at the Alabama Broadcaster Association's annual conference.
The Don Markwell Sentinell Award recognizes reporting on stories that highlight the importance of a free press and open government.
"It’s a huge honor to receive the Don Markwell Sentinel Award for excellence in investigative reporting," reporter Breken Terry said. "It’s incredible to see a story you put your heart and soul into actually lead to real change and laws being passed. This was not possible without the many victims of violent crime across this state sharing their stories. The victims of Jimmy Spencer opened their wounds and spoke out. We filed so many open records requests and that information proved serious flaws at the state Dept of Pardon and Paroles. Come September 1st the parole law will go into effect and I will continue to stay on top of this to see real change happens. Couldn’t have done this without Regan Spencer and our news team WAAY-TV."
Our investigation into the parole board began after career-criminal Jimmy Spencer was paroled while serving a life sentence. Not long after he got out, police charged him with killing 3 people in Guntersville. WAAY 31 found several disciplinary issues that should have kept him from being released. You can find all of our past coverage here.