Reward offered in city’s only unsolved homicide this year

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Back in May, Charlie Sanders, a 62-year-old Selma man, was shot in the front yard of his home on Tremont Street.

So far, the case is unsolved, and the Selma Police Department and Selma City Council want to remind the public of a $3,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Sanders’ murderers.

There have been five homicides in Selma this year, and arrests have been made in the other four.

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Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said his department would work to do some public service announcements about the $3,000 reward and will apply to the governor’s office for additional reward money.

Collier was asked by several council members Tuesday what is being done to help promote the reward and help solve the case.

“I think it’s owed to the citizens of Selma that they are made aware, publically, to let people know we are concerned,” Councilwoman Jannie Thomas said.

Sanders was found shot to death in his drive on the 1600 block of Tremont Street by a neighbor.

He was found with his car door open, and it appears like he was getting ready to leave home to go to work.

Councilman Johnny Leashore said Sanders was a respected community member.

“Mr. Sanders was well-known. He was an elderly person but still working, a taxpayer. There is an outcry,” Leashore said.

Leashore asked Collier if the money for the reward could be given to the well-known Crimestoppers television segment and tip line, which might draw added publicity to the crime.

Collier said he was against that idea because Crimestoppers would only give a $1,000 reward.

“That would be a mistake. They are only going to pay $1,000,” Collier said. “We have no authority over Crimestoppers. I’m telling you, if you vote tonight to give them $1 million for the reward, they are going to pay $1,000. If that’s the fiscal policy you want to adopt … you guys are the appropriators, I’m not going to get in the way of that.”

Leashore asked if the city could negotiate with Crimestoppers to see if they would be willing to set aside $3,000 for just Sanders’ case.

“Can’t this $3,000 be forwarded to Crimestoppers because they are the ones who will put the spotlight on these,” Leashore said. “That’s what they do. They keep the heat on these thugs and criminals committing murders in our community. This council doesn’t do that. The chief doesn’t do that.”

Collier took exception to those remarks, saying that since he took over as police chief six months ago that murders are down 60 percent and that four out of five homicides have seen arrests.

“We have cleared four of those. That’s one of the highest rates in the nation. I totally disagree with you, and the numbers disagree with you,” Collier said.

Leashore said he didn’t mean to offend Collier, but that he stood by his comments that Crimestoppers would draw more attention to the case than the department could.

“I really hate that you took that as an affront to you. That wasn’t my intention. My intention was to let you know that’s all Crimestoppers does,” Leashore said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-442-7463, the SPD Criminal Investigation Division at (334) 874-2125 or the department’s secret witness line at (334) 874-2190.