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Emotion fills the courtroom as Prattville Barbershop killers hear judge’s sentence

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PRATTVILLE – It started with friends playing dominoes that ended with the deaths of three men; shot and bludgeoned to death.

Prattville’s deadliest crime ended Wednesday, five years later, with two men sentenced to prison for the rest of their natural lives without the possibility of parole.

But is it over, can it ever be over, for the families of Tony D. Smith, Eddie Dean Scott and Al Seal Benson?

About 50 family members of victims of the July 3, 2017 massacre at Smith’s barber shop gathered in a Prattville courtroom on Wednesday afternoon. They saw Circuit Judge Bill Lewis Jr. sentence Marty Morgan, 38, and Keon Cain, 23, both of Prattville, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for capital murder.

From left to right: Marty Morgan, Keon Cain. Circuit Judge Bill Lewis Jr. sentences Morgan, 38, and Cain, 23, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for capital murder.

Both men pleaded guilty, Morgan in 2019 and Cain about a week ago before his trial began, after the death penalty was taken off the table. The families of the victims approved the plea agreements.

‘Barber Shop Massacre’: Prattvlle’s Deadliest Crime Ends With Guilty Plea

Why did this happen? Family members speak in court

A dozen family members addressed the court before the sentences were handed down. Cain and Morgan stood to the side, under Lewis’s orders, to listen to the comments. The process took almost two hours. The most asked question was why? Why did this happen?

Everyone in this case knew each other – the victims, their families, Morgan and Cain. Smith, Scott and Benson were well known and highly respected men in the community. They were youth athletic trainers, they coached Cain when he was younger. They drove him to games and practices and made sure he had cleats and equipment.

Cain was a neighbor of Eddie Scott, having grown up opposite him, Scott’s son Jason told the court. Another member of Smith’s family recalled changing Cain’s diapers.

Morgan also grew up in the same tight-knit group, going to school and playing sports with loved ones of the victims. They had spent time together on porches, helped care for sick relatives and comforted each other at funerals.

“What you did was stupid and insane, it will never make sense,” Mallory Anderson, Smith’s niece, told Morgan and Cain. “For a while I carried hatred in my heart for you.

“Not anymore. You don’t deserve my anger.”

Anderson made an emotional statement in court, his voice loud, often staring at Morgan and Cain.

“It’s the last thing I’ll say, the last thing I’ll ever say to you,” she said. “I pray that you can make peace with yourself and your creator.”

Many relatives of the victims who came to court offered their forgiveness to Morgan and Cain. Others actually thanked Cain and Morgan for accepting the calls and saving the families from going through two ordeals.

“At the end of the day, I knew I had to forgive you,” Jason Scott said. The experience of losing his father led Jason to become a minister. “Yes, they made mistakes and rocked the city. Thank you for stepping in and taking responsibility for what you did.

“God can change your hearts.”

Other family members expressed their anger.

“I had a good brother, he would help anyone,” Barbara Jean Benson said. “He’d give you the shirt he had on his back, Marty, you know that. I’ll never forgive them. I hate them.”

Continued: With the guilty pleas, what happens next in the Prattville Barber Shop Murders case?

Morgan and Cain allowed to speak at sentencing

Lewis gave Morgan and Cain the opportunity to speak during the proceedings.

“It’s for families, and my family too, I’m sorry,” Morgan said. “It wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. I’m sorry.”

Cain said he understood that some of the victims’ relatives would not believe him.

“I know my actions were wrong and I know I hurt a lot of you,” he said. “I regret what I did, I’m really sorry. I’m really sorry that we had to go through this.

“I accept my punishment and take responsibility for what I did.”

The verdict is read in a crowded courtroom

Before delivering the sentences, Lewis asked the families in the courtroom to stand. He told Cain and Morgan to turn around and face them.

“They chose to do what you wouldn’t do on July 3, they spared your life,” he said. “Without them, I don’t think any plea deal would have been done.”

Lewis then paused for several seconds, staring at the crowded gallery.

“I hear you,” he said. “I’ve heard forgiveness. I’ve heard we don’t want revenge, we want justice. I’ve heard many of you ask why. We may never know why. What if in the years to come, we find out why, it won’t make sense anyway.

“I know we can’t bring your loved ones back. But from now on, I hope you can start to heal.”

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Marty Roney at

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Keon Cain, Marty Morgan sentenced in Prattville triple homicide

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