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Alabama Pastor and Non-profit Director Fights Capital Murder Charge

by Derek Gilna

Dothan, Alabama pastor and non-profit director Kenneth Glasgow, 52, has been charged with capital murder in a controversial case where another man with whom he was driving fatally shot a woman who allegedly stole the other man’s car. Glasgow has condemned the charge as excessive and moved to have it dismissed.

Glasgow, an activist in the Dothan area for decades and the half-brother of civil rights activist Al Sharpton, founded and directs The Ordinary People Society (T.O P.S). According to its website, T.O.P.S. “is an innovative, faith-based community program founded in 1999” that “works with the most disenfranchised members of our community that others exclude,” including the homeless and former prisoners.

Dothan police officials said Glasgow was in a car with Jamie Townes, 26, the alleged shooter, when they were driving around looking for Townes’ stolen vehicle. Glasgow claimed he did not know Townes had a gun and did not participate in the fatal shooting of Breunia Jennings, 23, who had allegedly taken Townes’ car. The incident occurred on March 25, 2018.

“I don’t know why I am facing capital murder charges,” Glasgow stated. “I’m not responsible for what someone else does. [Townes] just asked me for a ride to take him to look for his car.”

Pastor Glasgow was charged under Alabama’s complicity statute, which can make a person legally accountable for the actions of someone else if those acts constitute a criminal offense.

Himself a former prisoner who served time for drug crimes in the 1980s, Glasgow has a long history of helping ex-offenders, including registering them to vote. Like many activists, he has also been accused of being controversial. Glasgow participated in the Dothan “March for Our Lives” the day before the shooting, and organizers of that event quickly back-pedaled from their connection with him after he was initially charged.

Glasgow’s involvement with former prisoners led T.O.P.S. to receive a $300,000 grant from the Open Philanthropy Project “to support its Prodigal Child Project, which organizes pastors in the southern U.S. in support of prisoners, former prisoners, their families, and communities, as part of larger campaigns to raise public awareness and reduce incarceration.”

Pastor Glasgow was booked into the Houston County jail and later released on $75,000 bond; his case was sent to a grand jury in April 2018. Regardless of the outcome of the pending criminal charge, he will almost certainly continue to champion the rights of prisoners and other oppressed groups. 


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