Cross case on hold for evaluationPublished 4:59pm Friday, May 17, 2013
A man charged with murder in the November 2012 shooting will now be the subject of a physiological evaluation according to court records.
Michael Lane Cross, 20, is facing a capital murder charge after being accused of the shooting death of Marion Juman Spears last year.
Circuit Judge Bert Rice granted the defense motion to evaluate Cross on Tuesday. In the meantime, Cross’ youthful offender status application is on hold until the evaluation is complete, officials said.
Cross was indicted by a grand jury in January on a charge of capital murder.
Cross turned himself into authorities just days after the shooting that left Spears dead in his vehicle, an incident initially thought to be a car wreck. Cross reportedly told officers he believed he may have accidentally shot Spears while he was deer hunting at night — an act that is illegal.
What prompted the investigation and subsequent arrest was first believed to have been an automobile crash with Spears at the wheel of the vehicle in question. As first-responders arrived on the scene, it was discovered that Spears had suffered gunshot wounds.
Spears was slumped in his vehicle near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Mason Mill Pond Road on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.
Following Cross’ arrest, the investigation was turned over to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation due to a conflict of interest with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department.
Following a bond hearing on Nov. 30, 2012, Cross was released on $300,000 bond — $150,000 each on charges of murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle. He has been free on bond since that time.
With the grand jury indictment, the open charge of murder was upgraded to capital murder — a charge that will keep him behind bars until such time as a trial can be set in the case. No bond was allowed following the indictment.
Cross could face life in prison without possibility of parole or he could receive the death penalty if he is found guilty in the case.