Post-conviction hearing held

Friday, March 23, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

A Columbia man who was tried and convicted here in 2009 was back in Circuit Court this week for a post-conviction hearing.

Hudell Sparkman, 51, was sentenced to 25 years of which, as a "persistent" offender, he must serve at least 45 percent before being eligible for parole.

Through his appointed attorney, Debbie Zimmerle, Sparkman claimed that he was unaware of the enhancement factors that led to him being classified as a persistent offender and thus having to serve more time. He also claimed "ineffective assistance of counsel," stating that Bill Harold of the Public Defender's Office did not pursue the constitutionality of the warrantless stop and search that led to Sparkman's arrest, nor did Harold investigate the credibility of the confidential informant.

"A plea deal, that's all we talk about," Sparkman said, referring to his meetings with Harold. "He said the evidence showed I was guilty and I needed to take the plea. He didn't tell me it was enhanced."

Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard reminded the court that Sparkman had two trials in Marshall County. The first ended in a mistrial when the jury declared they were hopelessly deadlocked.

"I remember the grin on your face," Barnard said to Sparkman. "It went from ear to ear."

Three months later, Sparkman was tried again, and this time all 12 jurors ....for the rest of the story pick up a copy of the Marshall County Tribune!