Rev. Kenneth Glasgow with one of his attorneys, Derek Yarborough, at preliminary hearing (photo courtesy of the Dothan Eagle).
News Analysis by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher
Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, President of The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS) in Dothan, Alabama, has been charged by police with capital murder in the death of Breunia Jennings, a 23 year old female, even though the police admit that Jamie Townes, who is also charged, actually did the shooting.
Rev. Glasgow has been involved for many years with assisting ex-felons and the formerly incarcerated to rebuild their lives and reclaim their right to vote through TOPS and other organizations in the State of Alabama. Glasgow is an active participant in the Save Ourselves (SOS) Coalition for Democracy and Justice, with forty other organizations in the state fighting for social, political and economic justice.
Most recently, Glasgow has helped local activists in Troy, Alabama raise concerns about the savage beating by police of an unarmed Black man.
The ‘trumped-up’ capital murder charges against Glasgow result from a March 26 incident in Dothan. At a preliminary hearing held in District Judge Benjamin H. Lewis courtroom in Dothan on Friday, April 6, 2018, Dothan Police investigator, Justin Dotson, presented the results of his interrogation of the persons involved in the shooting incident. The preliminary hearing allowed the judge to determine if the charges against Glasgow should proceed to the Houston County Grand Jury.
Local white attorney Derek Yarborough and Darrel Atkinson, a Black attorney from a North Carolina criminal justice organization, represented Glasgow at the preliminary hearing.
According to Police investigator Dotson, Jamie Townes asked Rev. Glasgow to assist him in locating his car and phone, which were taken from his residence on Blacksheer Street in Dothan. Glasgow, who was driving his friend, Joy William’s 2018 Toyota Camry, picked up Townes and two other persons, Choyce Bush and ‘Little John’ Irvin and drove off in search of Townes car.
This occurred about 10:30 PM on March 26. Glasgow drove with Townes in the back seat behind him, Choyce Bush also in the back seat and Little John Irvin in the front seat next to Glasgow. After driving around for less than thirty minutes they spotted Townes car, which was driven by Ms. Jennings near the intersection of Lake and Allen Streets.
Ms. Jennings at some point began driving erratically and she drove through a church parking lot knocking over hedges and other structures. When she did this someone contacted 911 and alerted the police to an erratic driver in the area.
Ms. Jennings then deliberately drove Townes car and crashed into the car driven by Rev. Glasgow. At this point, Jamie Townes jumped out of the car, pulled out a gun and started firing into the car driven by Jennings. Jennings drove away and went a few blocks to the intersection of Lake and Allen Street. Townes followed her car on foot and then fired again allegedly killing Ms. Jennings.
At this point, it was a little after 11:00 PM and the police arrived on the scene as a result of the prior calls to 911. They interviewed and retained five people, at or near then scene including Rev. Glasgow, Jamie Townes, Choyce Bush, Little John Irvin and Joy Williams, since she was the owner and holder of the insurance on the vehicle.
Police inspector Dotson interviewed five people that were detained. They basically all told the same story. Jamie Townes and Rev. Kenneth Glasgow were charged with capital murder in the death of Jennings. The other two people were dismissed without charges.
Rev. Glasgow stated that he did not know that Townes had a gun and he was not aware that he had jumped out of the back seat of the car. Glasgow also did not know that Townes had shot and killed Ms. Jennings.
Dothan police charged Rev. Glasgow with complicity in the murder under Alabama law because he was present during the crime and did not attempt to stop Townes from committing the crime.
Police inspector Dotson also said Glasgow was charged because he did not tell the truth about who drove the car and did not call 911 after the car crash.
Under cross examination, Dotson indicated that there was no obligation to contact 911 and that Glasgow may have been correctly concerned about the insurance on the car. Dotson tried to suggest that Rev. Glasgow and Townes had a ‘relationship” based on Townes being a drug dealer and Glasgow having a ‘half-way house’ for former felons in the same neighborhood.
Kimbrough, Glasgow’s lawyer, pointed out that Rev. Glasgow was in the business of helping people on a daily basis and that he assisted Townes to find his car because he tries to assist people not because they had any prior ‘relationship’ with Glasgow.
Kimbrough asked Judge Lewis to dismiss the capital charges against Glasgow before taking them to a Grand Jury; or reduce the charges, and consider setting bail for Glasgow. At the end of the preliminary hearing, Judge Lewis said he would take the matter under consideration and give a decision later.
On Tuesday, Judge Lewis passed the decision on the charges against Rev. Glasgow to the Houston County Grand Jury. He also agreed to set bail of $75,000 on Rev. Glasgow. He was able to meet the bail requirements and get out of jail to go back to work serving the community.
The SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice issued a strong statement in support of Rev Kenneth Glasgow at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, which says in part, “ SOS resolved to fight for justice for Reverend Glasgow on multiple fronts: in the courts; in the community; in the media; and in the political arena.
“SOS is fully prepared to fight in all arenas until justice is secured for Reverend Glasgow. SOS resolved as its first step to send a strong delegation to the preliminary hearing to show our support. The preliminary hearing fully reinforced the strong belief that Reverend Glasgow is completely innocent of the charges against him.
“Anyone who knows Reverend Glasgow knows that he did not commit this crime. In fact, he has helped stop other people from committing crimes and helped people find their way back into society after being convicted of crimes. SOS knows Reverend Glasgow, and SOS members expect the Court’s actions to support what we already know.”