Butler Co. family outraged after seeing relative's killer on wor - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Butler Co. family outraged after seeing relative's killer on work detail

Family members visit the grave of their loved one, Robby Ray McCombs II. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Family members visit the grave of their loved one, Robby Ray McCombs II. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Dale Enos Lee (Source: Alabama Department of Corrections) Dale Enos Lee (Source: Alabama Department of Corrections)

A Butler County family can't believe that the man convicted of their loved one's death has been allowed to leave prison and work near where they live and where the crime happened.

Bobby Ray McCombs brothers visit his grave site all of the time. Their lives were forever changed by his murder in 1990. McCombs was shot and killed in the Brushy Creek Community of Butler County by Dale Enos Lee.

McCombs was dating Lee's sister at the time of the deadly shooting and court documents indicate that the two had gotten into an altercation earlier in the day on September 17, 1990. Lee later went to his mother's house where McCombs was staying with his sister and confronted them, pulling out a gun. When McCombs ran outside, Lee fired two shots, one striking McCombs in the back of the head. 

Lee was adamant that the weapon accidentally discharged.

He is now 23 years into a 40 year prison sentence for the murder. He has a parole hearing in October. 

McCombs' relatives were stunned to see Lee taking part in a prison work detail, only several miles away from where the murder happened. 

"This man that killed my brother has been working all around Butler County," said McCombs' brother, Howard Lofton. "I thought he would spend 40 years in prison like it was said."

"We've actually seen my brother's killer out here on these roads right here in Georgiana and he's flagging the traffic or holding the stop sign or whatever they have him doing working for the Department of Transportation," added Robbin McCombs, the victim's brother. 

Lee is allowed to leave the Camden Community Work Center under direct supervision, according to the Department of Corrections. 

"He is classified as minimum custody-out, which means he cannot leave the facility without direct supervision. He is still eligible to work in the community, but under greater restrictions and supervision than a work release inmate," Kristi Gates, a DOC spokeswoman, said. 

He's had that classification since July of 2013.

She says custody level placements are based on classification criteria that take into account the nature of the offense, time frame requirements, incarceration history, psychological assessments and risk assessments.

"In addition, the ADOC places inmates in the lowest possible custody level without posing an undue risk within the facility or to society," Gates added.

Bobby Ray McCombs' family is baffled that their loved one's killer ever qualified to work out in the community. They feel victims' families should be notified if there are any changes to where convicts are being held and if they're going to be working in the same area. 

"I can't believe it was ever even allowed to happen. He should never have had the opportunity to be here. He's a murderer," Robbin McCombs said. "The Department of Transportation makes money off the prisoners. The Department of Corrections makes money off the prisoners and money is coming before public safety."

Howard Lofton added: "They're endangering every person that lives in the state of Alabama by allowing this kind of thing to happen. This is something going on that should be stopped. I just don't see how the Department of Corrections can let something like this happen. It's the craziest thing I've ever heard of in my life."

Since the 12 News Defenders started working this story, Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer says Dale Lee's work assignments with the Department of Transportation have been restricted to Clarke County only. Tesmer says she does not want him working in any community and that the case speaks to the need for more prisons in Alabama. 

Meanwhile, The Department of Corrections tells us they are now reviewing Lee's inmate classification.

"We are reviewing inmate Lee's classification to make sure it is appropriate and consistent with our policy of placing inmates in the lowest possible custody level while also protecting public safety," Gates said.

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