1986 Murder Conviction Overturned

Joel Alcox Spent 26 Years in Prison for a Crime He Says He Didn’t Commit

The conviction of a Lompoc man who served 26 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a motel owner was overturned this week in the same Santa Maria courtroom in which he was sentenced more than three decades ago. The prosecution of Joel Alcox, 52, had been riddled with incompetence from the start, said his attorney Juliana Drous, including a false confession by Alcox after seven hours of police interrogation while he was high on LSD, a former defense attorney stunningly ineffectual in his duties, and alleged misconduct by prosecutors at the time. The true killer, Drous has charged, remains at large in London. Alcox was paroled four years ago while his case was on appeal, and his charges were officially dismissed during a short hearing last Wednesday. Afterward, family and friends gathered in a huddle of hugs and tears. Alcox is now married and lives in San Bernardino, where he works as a tire delivery person. Read next week’s Independent for more on this story.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.