Board chunks Doss parole

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles gave Connie Gibson a five-year respite in her recovery from a gruesome 1997 attack.

Gibson attended a Montgomery hearing with District Attorney Greg Griggers on Monday, and she asked members of the pardons and paroles board to keep Hugh J. Doss locked up in state prison.

In a sense, the board took her advice. After a five-minute hearing and just a few minutes of deliberations, Doss lost his bid for parole.

Email newsletter signup

For that matter, Doss didn’t even show up for the hearing, nor did he have any family members or attorneys present.

“That made it a lot easier on Mrs. Gibson,” Griggers said. “In fact, she stood up and made a brief statement in front of the board.”

Doss, serving a 16-year sentence for the attempted murder of Gibson during a 1997 burglary, was eligible for parole on Monday because he had served one-third of his prison sentence. However, the chances of Doss receiving parole were slim because of his criminal history.

In August 1997, Gibson walked into her home while Doss was in the middle of burglarizing it. Instead of fleeing, Doss grabbed a wooden spindle and “unmercifully” beat Gibson, according to Griggers.

Gibson survived the blows and police soon apprehended Doss, who later pleaded guilty to attempted murder, burglary and robbery. But that wasn’t the only conviction Doss had on his record.

In 1975, Doss was arrested as a juvenile for the murder of an elderly woman. The circumstances in that case nearly mirrored that of the Gibson case, which gave Griggers ample ammunition to keep Doss in prison.

“Basically, I told [the board] that he had done this on two separate occasions and that he’d do it again if he could,” Griggers said of his testimony to the pardons and paroles board. “They didn’t ask any questions, and it was a very brief hearing.”

In fact, the hearing was so brief that board members only discussed the case for a matter of minutes before declining parole for Doss.

Over the past few months, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has earned a reputation for releasing as many inmates as possible from the state prison system. Because of a state fiscal crisis, Alabama has struggled to fund the expansion of prisons, which has led to an over-population of most state jails.

In discussing the Doss case, Griggers said that fiscal crisis should not play a part in releasing violent criminals.

“From what I heard, ours was the only parole that was denied,” Griggers said Monday afternoon.