Man Seeks To Reverse Plea In Conviction As Accessory In 2018 Walnut Hill Murder

March 30, 2024

A man recently sentenced to prison as an accessory in a 2018 Walnut Hill murder case has filed a motion to withdraw a no contest plea he made over four years ago.

Christopher James Logan Stacey was sentenced in January 2024 to 40 years in prison for accessory after the face to first degree premeditated murder and accessory after the face to first degree attempted premeditated murder. He received credit for 1,612 days served in the county jail awaiting trial.

Stacey allegedly helped his father transport the bodies to Alabama and burn the evidence in Florida.

He appeared before Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Linda Nobles this week, saying that he wanted to withdraw his no contest plea because he thought he would be sentenced as a youthful offender or to just 10 years.

According to a motion filed in circuit court, Christopher James Logan Stacey seeks to withdraw his plea because it was “entered due to defense counsel coercing him and/or not explaining all implications of the plea”. His attorney, Bryan J. Hamlin, disputes the claim and asked the court to appoint another “conflict-free” counsel. A hearing is set for next week before Judge Linda Nobles.

According to court transcript , Stacey was asked by the court, “And has anyone forced you to enter a plea against your will?” to which Stacey replied, “no, sir”.

“Has anyone promised you and guarantee you what your furfure sentence will be,” the judge asked.

“No, sir,” Stacey replied, according to transcripts.

Judge Nobles will issue a ruling at a later date.

Christopher James Logan Stacey’s father, Christopher Alan Stacey was convicted in September 2023 and sentenced to life plus 30 years for second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. He was originally indicted for first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree premeditated murder but pleaded to the lesser charges.

Christopher Alan Stacey claimed the shootings were self defense. Court motions and denied appeals from the Florida First District Court of Appeals delayed the trial, but all of Stacey’s self defense motions were eventually denied.

Christopher Alan Stacey’s ex-wife, Jessica Nicole Thomas, was also charged with accessory after the fact to first degree premeditated murder and accessory after the fact to attempted first degree premeditated murder for the shooting at her home on Highway 164. Alexis Ileene Shiffner Cain pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to first degree premeditated murder and accessory after the fact to attempted first degree premeditated murder.

Alabama detectives learned that Boutwell had been at his friend’s house in the 5900 block of Highway 164, just east of Highway 97 in Walnut Hill. Deputies responded to find the suspects in the home.

An Escambia County, FL, investigator was contacted by Atmore Police to relay information on the shooting location. He instructed deputies to respond to the home where they found a couch burning in the backyard (photo below). Deputies extinguished the fire. Victim Boutwell later said he was shot on the couch in the living room of the home, which is about nine miles from where the men were found with the truck.

According to the report, an AR-15 was found in one of the bedrooms and a 12-gauge shotgun was found in another bedroom. The report does not specify if either was the murder weapon. A bullet hole was found in an interior wall.

Christopher Alan Stacey was seated on a bucket across the road from the residence watching as investigators processed the crime scene, while his son sat  in a wooden chair in front of a neighboring home (both pictured below). Cain and Jessica Thomas were placed in the back of ECSO patrol vehicles as investigators worked.

Florida investigators also responded to the truck at Brushy Creek on Deere Creek Road in Alabama to process that crime scene with Alabama agencies.  The straight-line location of the truck was about 1,000 feet north of the Alabama-Florida State line.

Christopher Alan Stacey resided with Thomas at the home on Highway 164. Boutwell told law enforcement that he was shot because of an argument with her ex-husband. The son, Christopher James Logan Stacey, also resided in the home, the report states.

Boutwell, the victim that survived the July 2018 shooting, was killed in a single vehicle wreck on March 13, 2021, on Highway 4A about three miles west of Century. He was pronounced deceased at the scene; there were no passengers in the vehicle. [Read more...]

Pictured below: Christopher Alan Stacey was seated on a bucket across the road from the residence watching as investigators processed the crime scene, while his son James Logan Stacey sat on a wooden chair in front of a neighboring home. Pictured middle below: A deputy questions Jessica Thomas as she sits inside a patrol vehicle in Walnut Hill. Pictured bottom: Investigators say two men were shot inside this home on Highway 164 in Walnut Hill. NorthEscambia.com exclusive photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

4 Responses to “Man Seeks To Reverse Plea In Conviction As Accessory In 2018 Walnut Hill Murder”

  1. Nancy on March 31st, 2024 7:57 am

    Reminds me of a song on an old tv show. “Don’t do the crime if you cant do the time”.

  2. David Huie Green on March 31st, 2024 1:05 am

    One suspects attention was not paid to the attorney or the judge.

    That or he mistakenly thinks a second spin of the wheel will be a definite winner.

  3. Old Man on Release on March 30th, 2024 11:47 am

    His defense attorney did him a diservice if he did not persuade him not to enter the no contest plea without a sentence already determined because it appears he got the maximum. You might as well go to trial or attempt to plea a lessor charge, like his dad did. As it stands, even if he is eligble for gain time, he will be 52 years old when he gets out, 58 if he is not getting it.

  4. Lou on March 30th, 2024 8:38 am

    What a waste of time and money…..He is guilty and you don’t get to decide your punishment.





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