Police have suspect in murder

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 16, 2004

UNIONTOWN – Police have a suspect in the murder of a woman near Nite Cats Convenience Store.

The body of Sarah Custard Witherspoon, 52, of Uniontown, was discovered July 9 near the store on County Road 53.

“We do have a suspect, but he has not been charged,” said Police Chief Donald Rhodes.

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Rhodes said his department was awaiting a preliminary report from the state Department of Forensics to reveal the cause of death in the slaying.

“Forensics still haven’t told us the cause of death, but I expect to hear from them soon,” he said.

Rhodes said he planned a call Thursday to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, which is assisting in the investigation to inquire about the case’s status.

“I expect to hear before the week’s end,” he said.

In wake of the third murder in his jurisdiction in less than a month, Rhodes said he’d been out on patrol more frequently.

It’s the third homicide in Uniontown in three weeks.

The bodies of Kenneth Dixie and Lawrence Alvin Smith were found in a soybean field along the same road on June 19. Charlie Bennett has been indicted in those murders.

During a church revival, Uniontown Mayor Phillip White told residents here there would be more dead bodies found because people today don’t fear the laws anymore.

“Until the Justice Department does something to put these criminals away, it will only continue to get worse,” White said, “We could put police officers on every corner, but that wouldn’t help either.”

Two local residents, L.T. Washington and Tameka Strong voiced their frustrations about the recent string of killings in Uniontown.

“This has got to stop because my family doesn’t feel safe anymore in the city,” Washington said.

“This is starting to be an everyday thing in this city,” she said.

Strong agrees with Washington about not feeling safe in Uniontown, saying walking the streets at night has now turned into a game of chance.

“Something has to be done before there is no one left in the city,” Strong said.