GADSDEN, Ala. (WIAT) -- The family of Nita Denson feels like Gadsden Police Chief John Crane should have been relieved of his duties.
A disciplinary hearing was held for Crane on Monday. Crane is suspended for his relationship with a then alleged murder suspect and the impact his relationship had on the trial.
On Monday, the announcement that Crane would only be suspended for at least five days was not something the Denson family wanted to hear.
Joy Bates blames Crane's relationship with the suspect in her aunt's murder – her own son, Justin Denson – for a plea deal and a light sentence.
"I felt like my aunt deserved a trial, you know, with jurors. We were just heartbroken," Bates said.
Both attorneys in the case say Crane acknowledges giving religious ministry to Denson, who was a high school classmate of Crane's son.
Crane also reportedly purchased books for Denson, put money in his jail commissary account and bought him a suit to wear at the trial.
Michael Rasmussen, Bates' attorney, says that relationship opened the door for problems should the case have gone to trial.
"That person, that defendant could then have used and claimed anything because there are no records of what was said," Rasmussen said. "There are no notes taken, [their conversations] weren't recorded."
Now, the family has to live with the reality, the terror that Denson will be eligible for parole in 12 years.
"He is an angry person, and he is very angry with at least two or three of us at this point," Bates stated of her son. "He has no reason not to come and hurt another person in our family."
Crane's attorney, Michael Haney, says his client did nothing wrong and was only ministering to a family friend.
Haney says nothing is out of the question, but an appeal of the suspension is unlikely on their part.
Crane's total suspension is for 15 days. Ten of those days are being delayed until after a future hearing.
Denson's family is still contemplating whether or not to make an appeal of the Civil Service Board's Decision.
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