Monday, January 7, 2013

Article: Tuscaloosa County had 16 homicides in 2012

All but one of the 16 homicides reported in Tuscaloosa County during 2012 have been solved.
The shooting death of Labarron Rice, 18, at a nightclub last week remains unsolved despite dozens of witnesses to the crime. Rice was shot at about 2 a.m. at Club Secret on 10th Street.
The club, formerly named The Orchid, had just closed when gunfire erupted at about 2 a.m..
“There are a lot of potential witnesses who have not come forward yet,” said Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit commander Capt. Loyd Baker. “We’re asking anyone with knowledge of this case or who was an eyewitness to this event to please contact us.”
Investigators believe the shooting was related to an early morning shooting at the Mapco gas station on Oscar Baxter Drive on Dec. 15. A 26-year-old was critically injured in that shooting, and three people face charges in that crime.
About an hour after Rice was killed, someone fired more than 20 shots at a house on 18th Street. No one was injured.
Rice’s killing is the first unsolved case since Eddie Williams Jr. was shot in a yard near 30th Avenue and 21st Street on Jan. 16, 2010. Arrests have been made in the other 13 homicides reported in Tuscaloosa County that year, the 11 reported in 2011 and 15 of the 16 that happened during 2012.
The 2012 homicides started in January. In those cases, Kevin Stines has been charged with fatally stabbing his blind aunt, Gloria Martin, 55, at her home in Northport before stealing her car and driving to Kentucky. Stines had been living with her since he was released from prison a few months before. Stines is being held at Kilby Correctional Facility with a pending capital murder charge.
Later that month, Lizzie Minor stabbed and killed her brother Bobby Minor, 34, during an argument at a home on Queen City Avenue. Lizzie Minor, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in July. She was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison but has a hearing for probation scheduled later this month.
On Jan. 20, Murphy Mc-Kinstry, 60, was charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of Raphael Patton, 21. Patton, an expectant father at the time, was riding a bicycle home from his job as a dishwasher at Ryan’s when he was struck and killed by a vehicle on Greensboro Avenue.
Willie Griffin was charged with killing Willie Cooke, 64. Cooke, who worked in the packaging center at The Tuscaloosa News, returned to the home he shared with his girlfriend on Jemison Avenue on Feb. 29. Police said that Griffin, the girlfriend’s son, was sleeping on the couch and became angry when Cooke turned on a light. Cooke was choked and died from the injuries two weeks later. Griffin, 29, is free on bond on the pending murder charge.
On March 31, Danny Ray Smith, 65, was accused of striking Haylee Burks, 8, with his truck as she and her family walked from the Tuscaloosa Regional Air Show. A grand jury in November indicted Smith on 10 charges, including murder, vehicular homicide, manslaughter, first-degree assault, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and three counts of third-degree assault. An arraignment in the case is scheduled for March 1.
Greta Johnson, 50, was killed in March. Cynthia Mack, Leroy Hines and Jeffrey “Jay-Zoo” Sanders are accused of killing Johnson and leaving her body in an abandoned trailer off Sanders Ferry Road. All three are being held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail on capital murder charges.
On the morning of May 15, Tracey Grissom shot her ex-husband Hunter Grissom at a boat dock on U.S. Highway 43 North. Tracey Grissom’s attorney said at a hearing in July that he had sexually assaulted Grissom and threatened her with a loaded gun more than year before the shooting, which the attorney said was prompted by years of abuse. Grissom is free on bond.
LeEric Smith, 21, was charged in June in the shooting death of Charles Edward Thomas Jr., 22, near Capitol Park. The two men were fighting about a woman, police said, when Smith pulled a gun and shot Thomas in the chest.
In July, Christopher Patton, 29, was accused of going to Kenneth McDaniel’s property and killing him with a metal pipe. Police said that Patton had been to the home before and told the homeowners that they were on his land. After the killing, residents came forward and said that they had similar experiences with a man fitting Patton’s description. He was later charged with criminal trespassing and has since been released from jail on bond.
In August, police received a call from someone who heard Julius Ervin Cockrell confess to killing Liza Lee Franklin, 73, at her home on Bridge Avenue. Northport Police went to her home and found her dead. A CrimeStoppers caller helped police track Cockrell to a mobile home in Tuscaloosa the next day. Cockrell has remained at the Tuscaloosa County Jail with bail set at $75,000 since his arrest.
In September, Jeff Grant, 41, was shot at a home in Cottondale. Investigators said that he had separated from his wife and was visiting the home for her daughter’s birthday party. The woman’s boyfriend of seven months came to the house, police said, and the two were involved in an argument that ended with Grant being shot.
Mitchell, 28, is charged with capital murder and has been held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail since September.
A teenager was charged on Sept. 24 in the shooting death of Samuel Long. The boy, 15, believed that Long had abused one of his relatives, police said. The teenager and a group of his friends and family beat, chased and shot Long at a home on 20th Avenue East, according to investigators.
Eddie Clark Jr., 19, died after he was stabbed in the King Acres neighborhood on Oct. 15. He was one of a group of men who tried to intervene between suspect Anthony Deon Davis, 29, and another person, police said. Davis stabbed Clark as he stood in the doorway of a mobile home where the domestic dispute was taking place, witnesses told police. Davis remains in the Tuscaloosa County Jail and has a hearing scheduled in Tuscaloosa County District Court on Feb. 6.
Rusty Allen, 32, was charged with murder on Nov. 16 after police said he caused a crash that killed Anthony Naylor. Allen faces several assault charges because others in the vehicle were injured. He is free on bond and has a court hearing scheduled later this month.
On New Year’s Eve, witnesses told police that Jason Johnson, 41, shot George Boyd, 39, after an argument about a woman at a home on Alabama Highway 216. Johnson has been released from the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $75,000 bond.
Reach Stephanie Taylor or 205-722-0210.

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