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Victims’ family seeks petition signers

ATMORE – Marsha Maher doesn’t want to live in fear.

It’s because of that fear that Maher started a petition recently – just as she has in the past – to deny parole for Shannon Dean Barlow and Franklin Lee Barlow Jr. The two men were sentenced for the rape and murder of Maher’s aunt and cousin in 1993.

Shannon Barlow and Franklin Barlow Jr. will go before the parole boardon Tues., Aug. 2. They were not supposed to be eligible for parole for 30 years, but overcrowding in prisons and other policy changes forced changes to be made in the parole system.

Maher said she, along with 15 members of her family, plan to be at the parole hearing in Montgomery.

“It’s a pretty anxious feeling,” Maher said. “It’s frustrating. Of course my aunt Kathy and cousin Angel are well worth the time.

“It’s still a needless thing we need to do,” she said. “We have to hear the facts again, and sit there and endure the pain of it again. It’s very frustrating and emotionally straining, especially for my mom (Janie Criswell of McDavid, Fla.). She’s pretty much the head of the family. She’s taken a lot of it for herself and set up for the rest of the family.”

On Oct. 10, 1993, Shannon Barlow went out with his brother and Albert Ganoe “Rocky” Beasley. After allegedly consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana, he returned home with the other two and began calling his stepmother. When she (Kathy Hall) opened the door, he shot her in the forehead with a .410-gauge shotgun. He testified that he then entered the home and went to the room of his stepsister, Angel Hall, and shot her in the face with the shotgun. Autopsy reports claimed the girl was also raped – a charge, which the Barlows deny.

Shannon Barlow later claimed that his attorneys did not protect him in the murder trial, that he was too young and that he was not allowed to withdraw his plea. He currently represents himself.

Shannon Barlow, 15 at the time of the murders, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences after a plea agreement with prosecutors. Franklin Barlow was sentenced to two life terms.

As a part of the brothers’ plea deal and after testifying against Beasley, both get parole hearings every five years.

As of Tuesday, there were more than 1,800 supporters who signed the petition. The goal is to reach 2,500 supporters.

Maher said she is begging the community to help support and sign the petition.

To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/marsha-maher-no-parole-for-the-barlow-s.