UPDATE: Missing person found dead in Dallas County, arrest made

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Clanton man last seen Dec. 31 was found dead Sunday in Dallas County, according to authorities.

Julius Collins Burnett’s body was found off Dallas County Road 47, which is about 25 miles south of Selma, around 2 p.m. Sunday. An autopsy will be performed in Montgomery, but the victim suffered from several apparent gunshot wounds, Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Carl Brown, 19, on charges of capital murder, first-degree theft of property and six counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. Brown is currently being held in the Dallas County Jail without bond.

Burnett, 47, was reported missing by his sister and was last seen Dec. 31 at 12:19 p.m. at a Peoples Southern Bank ATM in Clanton. Property owners putting up a fence found Burnett’s body the next afternoon.

As part of their missing person investigation, Clanton detectives were having information entered into the National Crime Information Center database when a Chilton County 911 dispatcher remembered reading information about an unidentified body found in Dallas County.

It was a close enough match that Clanton detectives Capt. David Clackley and Cpl. Robert Bland responded to meet with Dallas County investigators, Stilwell said.

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said pieces of the puzzle started coming together when his office started trading information with CPD.

“They had a missing person, and their detectives came and met with our investigators,” Huffman said. “It was determined their missing person and our person were in fact, the same person.”

Clanton detectives continued to work with Dallas County investigators trying to find out where the crime took place and other circumstances surrounding it.

Sgt. Cameron Bates and Cpl. Whitney Ray worked the case in Clanton, including tracking Burnett’s credit card and debit card transactions, Stilwell said. Clanton detectives also searched Burnett’s home in the 1800 block of Second Avenue North on Tuesday afternoon.

The agencies discovered cash had also been withdrawn from a Selma ATM. One of the Dallas County investigators recognized Brown in a photo captured by a security camera.

Late Tuesday afternoon, another investigator spotted Burnett’s stolen green Mazda Tribute on Luker Circle in Selma. Brown, who was driving the car, had the victim’s credit card in his pocket.

During an interview, Brown confessed to the crime and is the only suspect, Huffman told the Selma Times-Journal, a sister newspaper of The Advertiser.

Huffman said Burnett was shot twice in the head with a handgun and that Brown told investigators he threw the weapon in the Alabama River.

Huffman told the STJ that he believes Brown meet Burnett on the Internet, which somehow eventually led to the shooting. Dallas County investigators are working to recover Brown’s computer, which was in his car.

“Apparently, based on information gathered from Dallas County, the victim was in Dallas County of his own free will, and the crime scene is located in Dallas County,” Stilwell said.

Huffman said he doesn’t expect any more arrests in the case and that he was pleased with the speed with which an arrest was made.

“With the cooperation of the Clanton Police Department and our investigators working hand in hand we were able to make what I consider a pretty fast arrest,” he said.

Stilwell said his department would continue working the case in Clanton.

“Clanton Police detectives will continue to gather information in an effort to help Dallas County in their prosecution of this crime. All our evidence gathered will be turned over to Dallas County, and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work on this case,” Stilwell said. “Mr. Burnett’s sister’s persistence and the Chilton County E-911 dispatcher’s due diligence in reading all those teletypes brought this case to a quick close. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Burnett.”

A bond hearing for Brown has not been scheduled but could happen early next week.

Rick Couch of the Selma Times-Journal contributed to this report.