Junior’s saga ends in murder, trial

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The battered body was found the next day below the Waxahatchee Bridge on Highway 145; he had been bludgeoned to death the night before.

Junior had met his fate in the most terrible way: at the hands of his “friends” that he had known so very long. When the killers took the victim to this location, little did they know that there was a man and woman also under the bridge—for different reasons of course—and these witnesses were out of sight but they saw and heard the awful act as it took place.

The witnesses testified that the two brothers would hold the victim under water and then beat him as he begged for his life. “Don’t do this to me—I love you like my family.” The killers were heard to say, “You talk too much.” The three of them had been under investigation for certain illegal activities for quite some time. As the trial drew near, we all wondered if the witnesses would indeed show up in court. They did, and it was their testimony that brought a guilty verdict and sent the brothers to prison.

A couple of years later, the brothers’ father was arrested at the old Holiday Inn in Clanton for offering an undercover FBI agent a large sum of money to assassinate Sheriff Red Walker of Shelby County and Bill Baxley, who was the Attorney General at the time!

What a turn of events that would literally take one life and destroy the lives of a whole family.I was able to have a little chat with James Earl Johnson, who was chief deputy at the time, and he recalled that his department was aware of the investigation and worked with the FBI agents and Shelby County officers.

By this time, I was back on Mitchell Lake. Nice to be cruisin’.