Attorney General wants Crimestoppers Strengthened

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

Murders, kidnappings, heinous and vicious crimes that have left victims families feeling they have no direction.

In 2000, Jimmy Lewis was gunned down in the parking lot of the Wiregrass Commons Mall by Brandon Benjamin.

After Benjamin bragged about it, a tip from Crimestoppers led investigators to Benjamin’s home where the possible murder weapon, along with some of Lewis' personal property was found.

He's now serving a life sentence.
Last December, Travis Stringer was shot to death practically on his mother's front porch.

A Crimestoppers was issued and days later an anonymous call led police to this man, Zephaniah Moore.

Shelley Linderman the President of V.O.C.A.L, a organization committed to supporting victims families says, “They wouldn't get justice Without Crime Stoppers we've had several that have happened and wouldn't been solved we have one now, as a pending murder that's fixing to go to trial that wouldn't of been solved and we're working with that family."

This is why Crimestoppers has reached international proportions. Statewide there are 12 counties that have the program; locally Houston County’s Crimestoppers began a little more than 20 years ago.

But now Attorney General Troy King is hoping to get a legislation that will strengthen the program.

"It creates a statewide board to oversee the program and assist with local Crimestoppers organizations. It provides funding that will be created by a dollar fee that will be added to the court cost for each criminal conviction,” says King

And King hopes that dollar fee will make millions. He believes if the legislation passes the new bill, statewide one million dollars will be generated to distribute to local Crimestopper organizations

"There's a formula based on population that'll determine how the fees are distributed,” King continues.

Houston County Sheriff Lamar says, “With a reward it breaks that barrier of silence to the individual who’s got the information. And whenever they know they get a reward and their information is kept confidential, they come forth with it"

A caller’s tip is so confidential that the testimony is inadmissible in court
If the bill is able to get pushed through legislation and passes, the Crime stoppers board members will be appointed by the Attorney General, Governor Bob Riley, Lieutenant Governor Lucy Baxley, and the Speaker of the House.

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