Defendant enters Alford plea in connection with Doskar Manor stabbing


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 27 at 12:44 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A man who was let out of jail after pleading guilty to two murders was back in court Wednesday where he entered an Alford plea in connection to a third murder.

The daughter of Orville Avis watched from the back of the courtroom as her father's killer, James Seay, entered his plea.

Seay has never gone to trial, but confessed to each murder. The Avis family said it hopes his next sentence will keep him behind bars for good.

"It was a big relief off my mind. I was very grateful," Tara Hood, Avis' daughter, said.

Hood said she has waited for this day for more than a year - waiting and hoping for justice.

Seay, Avis' childhood friend, stabbed 61-year-old Avis to death inside his Doskar Manor apartment in 2013.

"You took property from Orville Avis and stabbed him multiple times, causing his death," the judge said Wednesday.

At the time of the stabbing, Seay already served separate prison sentences for two other murders.

His first in 1981, when he stabbed and beat a homeless man to death with a brick under a Louisville bridge. He was sentenced to 20 years but only served 13 for good behavior.

Months after his release, he stabbed to death another homeless man. This time Seay was supposed to serve 24 years, but was released 10 years early, again, for good behavior.

"I don't think there's good behavior for murder, ever," Hood said.

Prosecutor Leland Hulbert said it's because of a flawed justice system that allows such a crime to happen for the third time.

"What did he do when he got out? He killed someone again. You could predict that's what he was going to do unfortunately by his behavior, but what can you do about it. That's the way the system is set up," Hulbert said.

Seay entered an Alford plea of guilt, which means he does not admit to the criminal act, but admits the evidence would most likely persuade a judge or jury to find him guilty.

"It's kind of a way for a defendant to say I didn't really do it but they would probably prove it against me," Hulbert said.

In this plea deal, Seay agreed to serve 20 years for 1st degree murder, the minimum sentence for the crime. He also agreed to 20 years for 1st degree robbery and 5 years for tampering with evidence, all served concurrently.

"He's 70-years-old. He will not see the parole board until he's 87," Hulbert said.

"What he's done will never, ever bring my dad back. The only thing I can hope for is that there are other people safe now that they have him put away again. I'll be there for his parole to make sure he doesn't get out again," Hood said.