Several major cases could finally see their day in court after Limestone County jury trials resume next month.
The list includes individuals charged with a variety of crimes, from manslaughter and DUI to sex abuse to robbery and capital murder. Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said the list is compiled based on a few factors, including how long the case has been waiting for trial and if certain motions have been filed in the case.
Jury trials were placed on hold earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Jones reiterated Monday that the pandemic would continue to pay a role after jury trials resume Oct. 19. For starts, jury summonses will include instructions on how to register and qualify digitally.
Juror selection will take place at Athens Senior Center, and jurors will sit in the gallery for trials and deliberations. Limestone County Presiding Circuit Court Judge Robert Baker said extra alternate jurors could be selected just in case. Face shields will be provided for witnesses so their full face and mouth can be seen during testimony, but that will likely be the only exception to the "masks for everyone" rule.
In a previous statement, Baker called resuming trials "uncharted waters for us all" and stressed that public health would be a top priority at the Limestone County Courthouse. Jones echoed the sentiment Monday.
"We want to reassure the public ... that we're going to do everything we can for social distancing," Jones said. "Everyone is going to have masks, and everything under the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines is going to be done to ensure their safety."
With those guidelines in place, here are some of the cases Jones aims to try in the coming months, with some background information on each.
Trevor Davis Cantrell and Dacedric Deshun Ward are accused of capital murder and first-degree robbery in the Dec. 26, 2016, fatal shooting of 18-year-old Jason Ender West of Madison, outside the Sonic restaurant on County Line Road in Madison-annexed Limestone County.
According to court records, West went to the Sonic parking lot to buy Xanax from Ward and Cantrell. The two men intended to rob West, but Ward pulled a gun and shot West. West later died of his injuries at Huntsville Hospital, reports show.
Hit-and-run at mailbox
Deborah Cunningham Scott was indicted in December 2016 on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with injury. The charge stems from an incident April 7, 2016, when 69-year-old Charles Wayne Gates was struck and killed by a vehicle on Alabama 251.
Gates had crossed the highway to retrieve mail from his mailbox and was on his way back when he was struck, according to state troopers. The collision occurred just south of Pinedale Road. Gates was pronounced dead at the scene.
Botched robbery murder
Kandes Elizabeth Lambert and Terry Dale Amerson are two of three individuals who were charged in the July 25, 2017, botched robbery that left 27-year-old Brenton C. Gatlin dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Athens Police said at the time that Lambert, Amerson and Marty Gene Stafford II were in the process of stealing cash from Gatlin when he was shot at Lambert's home on Horton Street in Athens. Stafford was convicted in January of felony murder in the case and sentenced to life in prison in August.
Sex abuse, murder
According to APD, Thomas Edward Green admitted to accidentally shooting his wife, 35-year-old Cheryl L. Holt, in January 2018. A few months later, investigators with the Limestone County Sheriff's Office received a report accusing Green of sexual contact with a 3-year-old family member.
The cases were brought before a Limestone County grand jury in October 2018. Green was indicted on one count murder and one count sex abuse of a child under 12.
Fatal I-65 wreck
Stanley Gerrod Wiggins is accused of causing the death of 54-year-old Susan T. Wilson, a Tennessee woman who was injured Oct. 12, 2016, in a two-car crash on Interstate 65, about 2 miles south of Athens.
According to state troopers, Wiggins' 2013 Kia struck Wilson's 2016 Subaru, injuring Wilson, Wiggins and Wiggins' passenger. Wilson later died from her injuries.
According to investigators, Antonio Shalamar Jacobs and Dewayne Lee Sloan intentionally went after and murdered 34-year-old Darius Dewayne Allen in retaliation for him shooting into Jacobs' mother's house earlier the week prior.
Jacobs and Sloan are each charged with capital murder in Allen's death. Police said Allen shot into the mother's home because he had learned his wife had slept with Jacobs.
Scotty Dale Moss told officers he drank a pint of Fireball cinnamon whisky before getting behind the wheel Oct. 2, 2018, according to a crash report from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. He was less than half a mile from his residence when he crossed the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle.
An adult male passenger in Moss' vehicle was not injured, but 37-year-old Lloyd Jason Crawford Reed was killed and a female teenager in Reed's vehicle had to be flown to Huntsville Hospital via MedFlight.
Moss faces numerous charges related to the wreck — reckless murder, first-degree assault/DUI, reckless manslaughter and DUI (alcohol).
Murder by skillet
Sean Kevin Sutton is charged with murder in the blunt-force trauma death of his 79-year-old mother, Emma Sutton. A relative found her body in her apartment on North Malone Street on Nov. 21, 2018.
About 25 minutes later, Athens police officers found Sean Sutton several blocks away. Jones said in January that Emma Sutton had been struck with a skillet.
Records show Sean Sutton previously served time in prison for the attempted murder of an Indiana teenager in 1997. He shot the teenager twice, leaving them paralyzed.
Caught with the body
Fred Somerville is charged with two counts of capital murder in the 2019 deaths of his estranged wife, Lakresha Somerville, and of Bruce Cosman. Limestone County authorities believe Fred Somerville shot Cosman outside Cosman's home in Ardmore.
He was arrested the next day in Pickens County after Aliceville police officers received a report of a stolen car near the downtown area. The vehicle was being driven by Somerville but belonged to his estranged wife, and her body was found in the front passenger seat with a gunshot wound to the head.
She had been there for several hours, officials said.
Another fatal wreck
Kaitlynn Rae Hall was indicted in February 2019 on charges of reckless murder, felony leaving the scene of an accident and DUI (alcohol). The indictment states Hall was intoxicated when she collided with a vehicle driven by Larry Wade White on Alabama 20 on April 13, 2018.
When emergency personnel arrived, White's 2003 Ford Taurus was found overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials later determined the vehicle had been struck from behind by another vehicle, which then left the scene. Hall was arrested by Athens police later that day on a charge of DUI.
Xavier Tavaris Young is accused of attempting to rob an Athens couple in August 2017, part of what police described as a Craigslist sale gone wrong. The couple had advertised a diamond ring on the website and even sent a copy of the appraisal that included their home address to a Huntsville man who expressed interest.
Later, a man appeared on their doorstep asking for help. When the couple refused, the man pulled a pistol from his pocket and demanded they give him the ring. He fired at them as they tried to close their front door, then ran.
While APD was taking a report, Young drove by the couple's home. Officers tried to stop Young, and a chase ensued, ending after Young lost control of his vehicle on U.S. 72 and ran into a utility pole.