Homicides fall in 2017, four remain unsolved

Published 10:29 pm Monday, January 8, 2018

After a violent 2016 that saw 17 people killed in Selma and Dallas County, the number of homicides dropped significantly in 2017.

The Selma Police Department investigated 11 homicides in 2017, and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department investigated one homicide, which was later ruled accidental.

“Anybody getting killed is too many for a year, but whenever you can decrease the murder rate from the prior year, that’s families that are kept together,” said Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson.

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He attributed the decrease to a joint effort of law enforcement agencies –– local state and federal. Four of the 11 homicides in 2017 are still unsolved. There were 10 homicides left unsolved in 2016.

The first murder of 2017 was reported on Jan. 14 when the body of 23-year-old Nick Bell was found in the front seat of a car on Alabama Avenue across from Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Five months later, 18-year-old Christopher Boswell and 22-year-old Demarcus Dillard were arrested and charged with capital murder for Bell’s death. They were identified as the suspects by someone that was allegedly there when Bell was gunned down.

The second homicide happened on Feb. 5 when 60-year-old Alfred Givan was killed in a hit and run on the 1300 block of Highland Avenue. No arrest has been made in the case.

The third homicide, which was later ruled accidental, occurred on April 14. Rufus Williams Jr., 19, was shot and killed by 19-year-old Ratreavis Sanders.

Sanders, who was riding in the backseat of a car, allegedly shot Williams on accident through the seat.

The year’s fourth homicide was reported the same day. Christopher Deon Cooper, 31, was shot after 32-year-old Edree Williams allegedly opened fire at a party on the 300 block of South Avenue. Williams was charged with murder after Cooper died three days later in the hospital from his injuries.

The fifth homicide of 2017 occurred on May 17 when 62-year-old Charlie Sanders was robbed and shot to death on the 1600 block of Tremont Street while leaving for work. Sanders’ case remains unsolved.

Romero Alicostro Moore, 37, was the sixth homicide of the year. Moore was shot to death in what police called an ambush at Selma Square Apartments on Woodrow Avenue. Robert Giles, 25, and Maurice McAdory III, 18, were both charged with murder in the case.

Christopher Devon Lee, 17, was the seventh homicide of 2017. He was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of a home on the 1500 block of Washington Street on July 3. Lee was a student at Ellwood Christian Academy and a star basketball player for the Eagles. Markell Collins, 16, Mitchell Williams, 19, Ceddarius Williams, 18, and Jamarius Shaw, 23, were arrested and charged with capital murder.

The death of 2-year-old Arki Matthew on Aug. 14 was the eighth homicide. According to the Selma Police Department, the initial cause of death was believed to be SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but it was later determined to be blunt force trauma. No arrest has been made in the case.

The ninth homicide reported was 43-year-old Barbara Alexander, who was killed on Sept. 29 on F.D. Reese Street. Her boyfriend, 53-year-old Alfred Vaughan, was charged with murder in the case.

Jamarius Fails, 24, was the 10th homicide. Fails was found dead in the backseat of a crashed vehicle near the intersection of Cahaba Road and Jackson Street. Lt. Tory Neely with the Selma Police Department said Fails had a gunshot wound and was being taken to the hospital when the driver wrecked. No arrest has been made in Fails’ death.

Shykereya Leggett, 20, the 11th homicide victim, was killed on Oct. 22 while leaving Prime Ultra Lounge, a nightclub on South Maxey Street. Juantonio Cosby, 30, and Kenneth O’Neal Ingram, 29, allegedly opened fire at the entrance with a high-powered rifle and a handgun when the club was closing. They have both been charged with murder.

The death of 35-year-old Mary Timmons Scott, was the 12th and final homicide of 2017. She was shot and killed by her ex-husband, 63-year-old Greg Scott. Scott then fled Selma with their two daughters and shot himself the next day in front of a Birmingham funeral home.

Jackson said he is hopeful for another decrease in 2018. The number of homicides has not been below 10 since 2012.