CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. - A home invasion that led to the death of two men is under investigation.
Investigators say that on July 17, 45-year-old Patrick Walker entered a home on Cullman County Road 1301 at around 5 p.m., with the intention of killing the homeowner, prominent Cullman attorney, 73-year-old Stephen K. Griffith.
Investigators say Walker shot and killed Griffith. They say another person inside the home then struggled with the intruder and eventually killed him. Officials are not releasing Walker's cause of death.
The other occupant of the home is in the hospital recovering from injuries received during the altercation.
Officials from Cullman Regional confirmed that the victim's wife, Jackie Griffith, was the other occupant of the home. She is being treated at Cullman Regional and is in good condition.
"The family wants to thank the community for their prayers, but they also ask that everyone respect their privacy as they continue to heal and mourn through this process," said Cullman Regional spokesperson, Lindsey Dossey in a press conference on Wednesday.
Stephen K. Griffith was a long time attorney in Cullman with the firm Griffith, Lowry & Meherg.
“Steve was a fine, well-respected Alabama lawyer. We at the bar are saddened by his passing and mourn his loss. Steve served the state bar as a commissioner for six years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Jackie and the rest of the family,” said Phillip W. McCallum, executive director of the Alabama State Bar.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry said that investigators believe Walker mistakenly held a grudge against Griffith in relation to a case from decades ago. The sheriff said that Walker became obsessed with Griffith, though the two men had no relationship or connection. Investigators say that Patrick Walker had a history of mental health issues, but had never been arrested by Cullman County deputies.
Sheriff Gentry said that this situation is symptomatic of the problems in the mental health care system.
The investigation is ongoing.