Murder case goes to trial

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The two men accused of murdering an 18-year-old Selma High School student in December 2013 are set to go to trial in August.

John Jones, 16 at the time of the shooting, and Larry Hunter, 18, were arrested a few days before Christmas for allegedly shooting Alexis Hunter to death and robbing a group of girls for their cell phones.

“To lose your child is probably the worst thing someone can go through, so it has been very, very tough on [the family],” said Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson.

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According to Jackson, Jones and Hunter will go to trial for capital murder the week of August 3. Jackson said Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Thomas will prosecute the case in Circuit Judge Jack Meigs’ courtroom.

“We want capital murder convictions on this. This is a very serious crime. A young person’s life was snuffed out for no reason,” Jackson said. “We just hope to bring closure to the family so they can start the healing process.”

Jones and Hunter were indicted by a Dallas County grand jury in July 2014 on capital murder charges.

After the two men were indicted, it was reported that Jackson’s office would seek the death penalty for Hunter.

Jackson said Tuesday that he isn’t sure what punishment his office will seek for Hunter and Jones, the alleged shooter.

Jones cannot be given the death penalty because of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment for a minor. Hunter could be facing the death penalty or life in prison.

“We’re still in consultation with the family on seeking the death penalty,” Jackson said. “I’ve spoken to Alexis’ mother several times, and of course, they are just looking for closure. They’re still in a lot of pain.”

Alexis’ parents, Joann Hunter and Howard Walker, said it has been tough on the entire family since they lost Alexis.

Joann said they are leaning on the community for support and praying for courage.

“We’re just praying and asking God to give us strength to go through with it because it is almost unbearable,” Joann said. “We’re just praying for strength.”

Alexis Hunter was shot in the head at close range, according to Sgt. Kendall Thomas with the Selma Police Department.

According to Thomas’ testimony at hearings in 2014, Jones is believed to be the shooter.

Jones allegedly shot Alexis after he asked for her cell phone. The two other girls that were with Alexis were allegedly chased off by the suspects and robbed of their cell phones.

Jackson said he believes Alexis’ murder has helped shed a light on a serious gang problem in Selma.

“I think that this shooting woke a lot of people up about the fact that we have a problem with gangs gun violence that some people might not have thought was going on in Selma,” Jackson said. “The whole community is going to have to tackle it. It can’t just be law enforcement. It is going to have to be the whole community to get people to focus on more positive things.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said testimony from Sgt. Kendall Thomas about which suspect fired the gun was given at grand jury. That is incorrect. The testimony was given at earlier hearings.