Case involving SPD evidence tech bound over to grand jury

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A case involving a former evidence technician with the Selma Police Department and two others has been bound over to a Dallas County grand jury.

According to Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, 34-year-old Adrianne Michelle Canterbury, 32-year-old Candice Ledbetter Byrum and 43-year-old Richard Alan Canterbury had preliminary hearings last week in District Judge Bob Armstrong’s courtroom.

Adrianne had an ethics violation and first-degree theft of property charge bound, Byrum had a second-degree receiving stolen property charge bound and Richard had a first-degree receiving stolen property charge waived to the grand jury.

The three were arrested in May after an investigation into missing firearms from the police department’s evidence vault. Initially, just Adrianne was arrested and charged for three missing firearms, including one used in an April 14 homicide in the county, and fake gold chains.

More tips led the department to investigate her husband, Richard, and his acquaintance, Byrum. The investigation uncovered more than 200 guns from the evidence vault had been stolen, along with the paperwork that went with them.

More than 200 guns, including ones seized in criminal cases, were found inside a rented storage locker and the Canterbury home. Many of the guns have been recovered, but Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said Monday there are still missing weapons from the vault.

“Previous news reports stating all suspected guns had been recovered are incorrect,” a press release from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s Office states.

Collier said the department never claimed all the weapons were recovered once it was determined more than just three were missing from the evidence vault. The Times-Journal has also never reported all the guns were recovered.

The department alleges Adrianne was stealing the weapons, Richard was fixing them up and Byrum was selling them.

Adrianne was hired as an evidence technician in November 2016 prior to Collier being hired as police chief in January. 

She was fired after her initial arrest.

Her supervising officer, who was over the vault, was also later dismissed from the department, but the officer’s identity  is not being released because no criminal charges have been filed.

The case is being investigated by state and federal agencies. The corruption side is being investigated by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the firearms side of it. Collier later asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the entire case due to a potential conflict of interest with an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office, who is a former Selma officer.

According to Collier, the ATF returned control of the evidence vault back over to the department on June 30.

Collier said the department has spent more than $20,000 in upgrades to the evidence vault. Collier said new security cameras have been installed, as well as a bar code system to scan in evidence and new evidence lockers.

“Additionally, I have coordinated further with the FBI and they have agreed to train an evidence supervisor on evidence management free of charge,” Collier said.

Collier said the evidence vault will also be audited every three years, which he added is a national best practice. The last purge of the evidence room was done around 17 years ago.

“This is a situation that I inherited as chief and I can’t change the past or explain why more frequent audits were not done in the past,” Collier said. “But I can guarantee that it will not happen on my watch.”

Jackson said he expects a grand jury to hear the cases sometime in September.