Sheriff’s dive team looks for murder weapon

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team spent Tuesday in Selma looking for a murder weapon in the Alabama River.

Dallas County officials are investigating the murder of Clanton resident Julius Collins Burnett in January.

Dallas County Sheriff's Department chief deputy Randy Pugh watches as members of the Chilton County Sheriff's Department dive team maneuver around the shoreline of the ALabama River near the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Tuesday.

Based on information gathered from interviews with Carl Brown, a suspect in the case who is in custody, the Chilton County dive team was asked to search the river near the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“During our interviews, we were told Mr. Brown went down by the civil rights park near the bridge, down to the [Alabama River] bank and threw the weapon in to the river,” Dallas County Sheriff’s Department investigator Sgt. Mike Granthum told the Selma Times-Journal.

No weapon had been found as of Tuesday afternoon. Davis said the divers would go back again soon to continue the search for the handgun allegedly used to shoot Burnett twice in the head.

“They come help us when we need them, and we go help them,” Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis said. “We have a dive team because of all the lakes in Chilton County. We have no other role in the case.

“We went over last week and scouted out the dive conditions. Basically, it’s zero visibility–what we call black water diving.”

Davis said alligators were also a concern for the divers. The river is about 20 feet deep at the bridge, he said.

“It’s a dangerous dive because of the conditions,” Davis said.

Collins, 47, was last seen Dec. 31, 2011, at Peoples Southern Bank in Clanton and was found dead in Dallas County, about 25 miles south of Selma, the next day.

Brown was arrested on Jan. 3 and charged with capital murder, first-degree theft of property and six counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Tim Reeves of the Selma-Times Journal contributed to this report.