A man charged with capital murder in the 2017 death of his great grandfather received a life sentence after pleading guilty to the lesser included charge of murder.
Jzurih Khalil Flowers pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to the murder of Ray Lee Flowers before Twelfth Judicial Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley, who then sentenced Flowers to life in prison.
Flowers has been in Coffee County Jail on no bond since his arrest in connection with the beating death of his great grandfather May 18, 2017. He was originally charged with attempted murder after beating the 73-year-old with a cane. The victim died early the next day without ever regaining consciousness, according to previous court testimony, and the charge was elevated to capital murder.
At the time of his 2017 arrest, Flowers was on probation on a charge of breaking and entering a vehicle. Consequently, Flowers was also charged with violation of probation.
Testimony at Flowers’ initial court appearance in May 2017 revealed that Enterprise Police Department officers responded to a residence in the 100 Block of Grimsley Street after a 911 call advising them that an individual was acting disorderly at that location.
In a June 2017 court hearing, EPD Detective Matt Saxon told the court that he responded to a dispatch call for back up assistance at a residence at 113 Grimsley Street shortly after noon May 18. EPD CID Detective Gerard Dube is the officer who interviewed Flowers at the Coffee County Jail for 50 minutes following the arrest.
Saxon said that first responders discovered the suspect inside a bedroom at the residence striking the victim, who was lying on a bed, repeatedly with a multi-colored metal walking cane. EPD officers apprehended Flowers after a struggle, Saxon said. It took a total of four officers—two at a time—to restrain him, Saxon said. “The first two got worn out so the others took over.”
Saxon said that when he arrived at the Grimsley Street home, emergency first responders were in the bedroom with Ray Lee Flowers who “had a large amount of trauma to his face.” There was blood “splattered” on all four walls and the ceiling in the bedroom, Saxon said.
“I want everybody to know that I beat him to a pulp,” Dube testified that Jzurih Flowers said during the 50-minute interview.
Saxon told the court that he saw a bloody $1 bill on Ray Lee Flowers body and Dube said Jzurih Flowers told him he “snapped” when his great-grandfather denied him $1 for a watermelon Snapple “and some weed.”
Dube also said Jzurih Flowers threw the money back at the victim after beating him. “He said he told his (great) grandfather that he didn’t need to die over this $1.”
Throughout Jzuriah Flowers’ first appearance May 22, 2017 he appeared agitated with his arms and legs moving continually and randomly, despite wrist and waist restraints. He hung his head silently when asked his address. His only voice answers were random high pitched keening sounds. He sat at the defense table surrounded by four sheriff’s deputies.
Then-Twelfth Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Josh Wilson told the court that none of the agitation Flowers exhibited in court at his first appearance had been apparent during his initial arrest and court hearing May 18, 2017. “In his initial statements, he was coherent,” Wilson said.
Citing Alabama law, Wilson defined the charge of capital murder as “murder in the commission of a robbery or attempt thereof. “We believe the facts to be that the assault on Ray Lee Flowers was fueled by the defendant’s intent to rob his great grandfather of some sum of money,” Wilson said. “The defendant located the victim’s wallet and removed at least $1 that we are sure of.
“The fact of it being only $1 may sound trivial but regardless of the amount taken or attempted to be taken a man’s life ended over it,” Wilson said. “This was a brutal murder of an elderly man unable to defend himself or his property.”
“Was this worth taking the beating I just gave you for?” Flowers is reported to have asked his great grandfather about the money, Wilson said.
At a Feb. 4 scheduling conference before Kelley, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Mary Katherine Head told the court that the state would not seek the death penalty.
At that scheduling conference, Kelley approved Flowers’ attorneys Carmen Howell and James Tarbox’s request for a mental evaluation for their client. No trial date was set pending the results of the mental evaluation.
At the Oct. 1 guilty plea before Kelley, Flowers waived the right to a trial and a pre-sentencing report. Court records indicate that the “defendant understands his guilty plea plea and the consequences thereof.”