Judge mulls evidence for 3 of 6 in Alabama birthday shooting

An Alabama state investigator described a bloody and chaotic crime scene filled with 89 bullet casings and other evidence after a shooting that killed four young people and injured dozens at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party

ByKIM CHANDLER Associated Press
April 25, 2023, 2:48 PM

DADEVILLE, Ala. -- An Alabama investigator described a bloody and chaotic crime scene filled with 89 bullet casings and other evidence after a shooting killed four young people and wounded dozens at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. Authorities have charged six people with murder.

Tuesday's court hearing could determine if the three adults accused of last week's shooting will be held without bond. A judge did not immediately issue a ruling. Hearings will be held later for the three juvenile defendants.

“Multiple shell casings. Blood everywhere,” testified Special Agent Jess Thornton of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Thornton said he'd never encountered a crime scene like the one at the dance studio just off Dadeville's town square. He said shell casings from four types of handguns were recovered at the scene, and evidence indicates at least one of the handguns had been altered for rapid fire.

Thornton said statements from the six defendants, either about themselves or each other, indicated all six were at the party and fired a gun. He said at least five of the six met after the party at a parking lot in a nearby city.

Investigators have not discussed a motive or what they believe led to the shooting.

The three adult defendants are Wilson LaMar Hill Jr., 20, of Auburn, Alabama; Johnny Letron Brown, 20, of Tuskegee; and Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn.

However, at least one defense lawyer suggested that one of the deceased people at the party started the shooting.

George Bulls, a lawyer for Willie Brown, asked the state investigator if there were at least some statements about one of the deceased individuals, Corbin Holston, being the one that fired first.

Thornton replied it was a mix.

Thornton testified that Holston, 23, of Dadeville, was found with a 40-caliber gun sitting on his chest. Thornton said the position of the gun, which had been fired, struck him as odd.

“Almost like it was placed there,” Thornton said.

Thornton said most of the recovered casings were 9 mm caliber.