Albertville Man Pleads Guilty to Murder of Gary Lee Willis

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DEKALB CO., Ala. (WHNT) – Michael Stanley Townsel, Jr., 28 of Fort Payne, entered a guilty plea for the murder of Gary Lee Willis Monday afternoon.

Gary Lee Willis, 38, of Boaz was reported missing late last year. His body was found on County Road 135 in Geraldine in a burning car on December 17, 2013. Investigators say he was shot multiple times.

Michael Stanley Townsel, Jr., 28 of Fort Payne, Delia May Downs, 33, of Albertville, and Christopher Todd Cagle, 28, of Albertville were charged with kidnapping held in the DeKalb County Jail on a $1 million bond.


DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said in December 2013 this case appears linked to drugs and money and that is the motive in the case.

Townsel was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.


  • Jessica

    I met Delia in the Madison County Jail in 2009 when I was still with my ex husband and getting in all kind of trouble. She was there on Manufacturing charges at the time, as was I. By the grace of God, when I returned home after a 3 year stint at Tutweiler, I stayed clean and still am today. Stories like these and seeing people that I personally know just remind me of what I could be going through had I not turned my life around. Meth is an evil drug. I used meth for 4 weeks and lost my whole life in that short amount of time. Even though I am clean and have a good job doesn’t mean that things are easy! You have to strive everyday to do the right things! I hate that this has happened to girl who had many chances to turn her life around. Wish ya the best!

    • max bruce

      Sorry but Delia darling isn’t reading your salutation sitting in jail. She is lucky Townsel was first up in court. They won’t award her life in prison but her life will be a prison knowing she did very little to stop this senseless brutal murder and idiotic body disposal attempt. Which, by the way, was practically in my back yard.

      • Jessica

        FYI: Your slight sarcasm can be taken a number of ways. I only posted to this to share that I knew her and hated that she wasnt strong enough to turn her life around. I by all means DO NOT think she should get a slap on the wrist, or any of the three for that matter. Honestly I think they should all get the same sentencing! But anyways, are you telling me that she isn’t in jail for this anymore?? It amazes me how quickly ppl get out these days!

      • Jessica

        And by the way…by the looks of the victim’s photo, he doesn’t look to innocent himself! Looks like he has shot a gram of ice in his veins and his eyes are about to pop out of his head! I am not justifying his murder but it is obvious he was on drugs too.

  • luke bandi

    Jessica, so glad you turned your life around, but why say bad things about the victim? He didn’t deserve to be shut multiple times and burned to death in a car and dumped somewhere! If he did bad things, that is his choice and it will come around. You reap what you sow. This story should be on FORENCSIC FILES on Head Line News! Oh, and Della is my grandmothers name! Sickening!

  • Sue

    Murderers should be “processed” out of this life and into the lethal injection where they belong! The murderers INTENTIONALLY killed their victim with extreme cruelty. They took his life. Take theirs!!!

  • lisa

    Michael Stanley Townsel is a meth using, cooker, dealer, and con artist…he has already served 4 and 1/2 years in prison, apparently didn’t learn a darn thing…he plead guilty b4 grand jury met because there was a BIG chance it was going to b upgraded to capital murder!!! He is still under investigation in the death of my daughter in Dekalb Co that’s all I can say…im sorry to the family of the victem my heart still aches and she’s only been gone 14 mos…were not thru with her case yet Lord willing!!!

  • Amy

    My sister died in January 2013… We believe by the hands of Stanley Townsel. His story never added up and actions were that of a guilty man. Wished he would tell us the truth in her case.. She had children and family/friends that loved her. With this murder, it just makes all the more suspicious of him. Maybe one day he will be a man and tell us. Either way he will answer to god in the end.

  • Wayne

    All three need to receive death by lethal injection. They just love to use needles, so let them inject themselves. They will never amount to anything that will be useful to society. It’s a whole lot cheaper than having to house and feed these good for nothing pieces of crap.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.