Television show may investigate Selma’s cold cases

Published 8:25 pm Saturday, June 6, 2015

TNT’s hit television show Cold Justice is looking to crack some of Selma’s unsolved mysteries.

Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, along with the Selma Police Department and Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, have submitted cases to be reviewed by show.

“We have a lot of cold cases, especially in Dallas County, that haven’t been solved where people have been killed,” Jackson said. “The show contacted me a few weeks ago, and we’ve been back and forth in contact. I’ve submitted different cases from this circuit.”

After looking through a list of cases that were never solved, Jackson said he picked between 10-15 to submit.

If selected, the stars of the show, former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and investigator Yolanda McClary, will investigate the cases.

Since the show’s inception in 2013, the duo has been responsible for 21 arrests, 11 indictments, four confessions, three guilty pleas and three murder convictions, according to the show’s website.

“They gave me criteria of what they were looking for. They don’t want cases that are basically gang related cases or a drug deal gone bad,” Jackson said. “They don’t want those kind of cases. They want the kind of cases where the storeowner gets robbed and killed, something along those lines. [They] basically want cases where innocent victims got killed and for some reason the case hasn’t been solved.”

Lt. Curtis Muhannad with the SPD has also done some digging in his department’s cold case files. Muhannad said the SPD submitted around three cases to the show, hoping they choose one of them.

“We hope they’re able to help gather more evidence and identify the suspects in the cases as the actual offender,” Muhannad said. “If we get enough evidence and probable cause we can hopefully bring these people to justice and provide closure to the families of the victims.”

The cases submitted by the SPD include a wife of a former officer that went missing in the 1990s, a male juvenile that was found hanging in a closet and a shooting at the Cahaba Twin Theaters that killed the co-owner.

The television show has a few criteria for cases, but Muhannad said one stood out among them all.

“Solvability — that will sum it up in one word. Is it solvable? Did we go as far as we can go?” Muhannad said. “New technology that is available could possibly help us identify the suspect and the resources from [Cold Justice]. They will determine what cases they want to investigate based on what they are looking for.”

Cold cases aren’t common, Jackson said, but they do sometimes happen.

“Most cases get solved, but every now and then in Selma or the county we have a case go unsolved. The longer the case is out there, the harder it is to solve it,” Jackson said.

A fresh set of eyes may be just the thing the cases need to be solved, Jackson said.

“I think it is a big help to have other investigators come and bring different perspectives on things. A new, fresh set of eyes looking at a case is always good,” Jackson said.

“They’ll coordinate with our local officers to try to help bring the case to a close, whichever case they decide to choose.”

Jackson doesn’t know when the cases, if any, will be chosen, but he did say the show has already started contacting local investigators.

“The main thing is to keep attention on these cases that have been unsolved. Families want closure, and the pain is still there until these cases get closed,” Jackson said. “I want to bring a renewed attention to the cases that haven’t been solved. You never know. With this kind of emphasis on them somebody might turn themselves in.”