AG Announces Life Sentence for 1980 Murder

(MONTGOMERY)—More than 30 years after a young woman’s body was found in woods at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, a fellow student was today sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. Jamie Letson was convicted and sentenced this year for the murder of 18-year-old Katherine Foster in 1980 when they were both freshmen students at the University.

“Though three decades passed, the murder of Katherine Foster was never forgotten, and persistent law enforcement efforts have at last delivered justice to the family who will forever grieve her loss,” said Attorney General King. “The conviction of Jamie Letson and her sentencing today to life imprisonment sends a powerful message to those who have committed violent harm and believe they have escaped from their crimes: though it sometimes is delayed, justice awaits.”

Attorney General King re-opened the case and prosecuted at the request of Foster’s family, as well as Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran and then-Mobile Police Chief Phillip Garrett. Letson was indicted in November of 2008 for Foster’s murder.

The Attorney General’s Office presented evidence during a trial last month in Mobile County Circuit Court, resulting in the jury’s verdict that Letson was guilty of first-degree murder on May 27. Both Foster and Letson were students at the University of South Alabama in 1980, and Letson purported to be Foster’s friend. Witnesses testified that Letson was jealous of Foster, and that she exhibited an extreme obsession with Foster’s boyfriend.

Prosecutors said Letson lured Foster into a wooded area and shot her twice in the head. Evidence was presented that Letson confessed the crime to a member of her Alcoholics Anonymous group approximately eight years ago, and that she wrote a confession letter addressed to Foster as part of her AA program.

Upon being arrested, Letson made a detailed confession to police, which was presented to the Court during her sentencing hearing today. Letson’s confession was collaborated by evidence at the scene of the murder.

Attorney General King commended those in his office who worked to bring this case to a successful conclusion, noting in particular Assistant Attorneys General Don Valeska, chief of the Violent Crimes Division, Will Dill and Tina Coker, also of the Violent Crimes Division; Special Agents Donna Cayton and Tommy Calhoun of the Investigations Division; Victim Service Officer Doris Hancock; and Janice Hughes who served as trial coordinator. He thanked the many dedicated law enforcement officers from other agencies who were involved, including Assistant Chief James Barber and Mike Morgan, both of the Mobile Police Department, and Phillip Garrett, former Mobile Police Department Chief; and former Mobile police officers John Wayne Boone and Girard Bolton; David Wilhelm of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran; Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson and former District Attorney Chris Galanos, and former investigator Bob Eddy of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.

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