McNear denied parole for life sentence in Kelley’s murders
Published 8:11 pm Monday, September 18, 2023
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles denied parole to Antonio Jamar McNear in a hearing held Sept. 7.
McNear, 34, is incarcerated at Easterling Correctional Center, serving life sentences for two counts of murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted murder in the Aug. 27, 2008 shooting deaths of Charles Doug Kelley, 49, and Patricia Anne Barginere, 48.
District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer expressed surprise over McNear coming up for parole so soon into his sentence but felt pleased with the outcome.
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“I’m pleased that [the board] unanimously denied his parole in a case like that,” Tesmer said. “It wasn’t just two families that were affected [by the murders]. It was the whole community. It was a blatant, broad-daylight murder that got to the whole community.”
At the parole hearing, family members spoke on behalf of McNear’s release. Appearing before the board requesting his parole were his mother and father, Roxie and Willie McNear.
Several individuals and court officers appeared to speak against McNears parole including Kelley’s wife, Sherry Kelley, Barinere’s daughter, Tonya Barginere, and son, Marvin Barginere. Also appearing were Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL) representative Makayla Phifer, the Attorney General’s victim services officer (VSO) Nayla Contreras, Crenshaw County District Attorney’s (DA) VSO Anna Findley, and Tesmer.
Tesmer said McNear’s trial was one of the first she prosecuted as appointed DA. She knew Betty Kelley shopping at the local grocery and recalled the circumstances of events immediately following the murders.
“Miss Pat was always the one [working] the meat counter most of the time,” Tesmer said. “It’s [hard] just to imagine her going to the store because she heard a gunshot. She went over there and looked in the door. She saw her son [already shot] and that’s kind of hard to stomach.”
After hearing requests, the board voted to deny McNear parole. with a September 2028 hearing reset date.
McNear, Hailing from Ramer was originally charged with capital murder, but was convicted on the lesser charge of intentional murder in August 2012 as an accomplice to the shooting which took place in Highland Home at what was then Kelley’s Grocery, now Nelson’s Grocery. John Lewis Thomas, Jr., also from Ramer and the man authorities believe to be the shooter, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Tesmer led the prosecution and argued during the murder trial that McNear and Thomas went to the store that day with the intention of robbing it. McNear took the cash register while Thomas fired at the escaping Betty Kelley.
The board held 22 parole hearings on Sept. 7, granting three and denying 19. Thirteen requests for pardon were also heard. Six were granted and seven were denied.