Fails’ sentence was set to begin Dec. 14

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2004

While waiting to serve a 20-year sentence for killing a man outside a local nightclub, 22-year-old Robert Fails was shot and killed in Sunday morning’s shootout at Donnie Roy’s.

Fails’ recent guilty plea to manslaughter in the Nov. 7, 2003 death of Erick Huntington has led to questions about why Fails was not in jail.

Fails was expected to begin a 20-year sentence for manslaughter on Dec. 14, according to District Attorney Ed Greene, just over a month after his death.

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“That was something that was agreed on at the time of his guilty plea,” Greene said.

All that changed when Fails was one of the 10 casualties at an early Sunday morning shooting at Donnie Roy’s nightclub. Eight others were injured and another, Antonio Boggan, 21 ,was killed.

Fails made a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office in October. Greene said he was originally charged with murder, but the charge was reduced in exchange for his plea. Fails agreed to report for the beginning of his sentence in Dec., as part of the plea agreement.

Greene said it isn’t unusual for bonded, convicted suspects – like Fails – to make that arrangement when they make a plea agreement.

“I don’t really find that to be a matter of serious concern,” he said. “That’s consistent and fairly normal for somebody who’s out on bond and entered a guilty plea.”

Even if suspects don’t enter a plea agreement, Greene said that many suspects immediately file an appeal after conviction, and a subsequent appeal bond. Which means they’re usually free after the conviction.

Police are still investigating the shooting and are expected to release more information today.

Mayor Perkins spoke out strongly against the crime in an earlier interview.

“No mercy for the shooters,” he said.

Other victims in the shooting were Anthony Crusoe, 27, of Selma; Dewayne Thomas, 24, of Selma; Theodore Barlow, 25, of Montgomery; Chavondee Thompson, 19, of Selma; Lila Edwards, 20, of Selma; and Cornielius Ford, 21, of Selma. One of the 10 victims was unidentified by police.

Greene said his office will be meeting with the police soon after the investigation is completed.

He also said he didn’t expect the case would present a problem with Fails’ family when the trial process begins, despite the recent conviction of Fails.

“We were recently adversaries but I think we’ll be able to communicate fairly well on this issue,” he said.