DECATUR, Ala. – Wednesday Decatur Police announced new charges against four people accused in a weekend crime spree that left two men dead.
Antonio Hernandez, 27, and Joshua Davis, 25, were killed by gunfire in the late hours of Friday night or early Saturday morning. A friend who was with Hernandez before his death said a group of males robbed them then shot Hernandez “for no reason.” Davis’ body was found by a passerby Saturday morning in Wilson Morgan Park.
A number of homes were also barraged by bullet holes to windows and doors during the crime spree, police said.
Police arrested four people in connection to these murders: 16-year-old Cedric Lamont Cowan, 16-year-old Cortez Ocie Mitchell, 17-year-old Amani Juan Goodwin, and 20-year-old Joseph Cowan. Wednesday, police upgraded charges against the four. Each is now charged with two counts of capital murder.
All four will be held with no bond until trial.
At the press conference Wednesday, Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said he will do everything in his power to bring justice to the families of Hernandez and Davis.
“The time, the resources this case has consumed – I’ll do my best to make sure the state’s funding does not impact the prosecution of these cases and our effort to seek justice. I would hate to think any of our legislators take lightly the jobs that law enforcement and District Attorneys do, not only in our community but across the state,” Anderson said.
He said capital murder brings with it the potential for a convict to earn the death penalty, but the three teenagers are not eligible for that because of their juvenile status. Instead, the highest penalty they could receive if convicted would be life in prison with no parole.
Josh Davis’s family tells us today is the first time they’ve seen justice, and it’s something they’ve been praying for.
“They deserve everything they’ll get,” said his sister April Davis.
Authorities did not release much additional information about the crimes, but said that they do not believe the murders to be related to gang activity. They are calling these killings “random,” but would not reveal motive or other circumstances surrounding the case for fear of jeopardizing their ongoing investigation.
WHNT News 19 obtained court documents including affidavits, warrants, and police reports that reveal more details, though. Police say they recovered a rifle and handgun they connected to the crimes. Investigators said in the documents that the handgun had blood and tissue on it.
These documents also painted a clearer picture about how police were able to track down the suspects. They reveal a big clue came from a selfie. Police say the the crime spree started last week, when the group of four suspects stole some phones and other items from a group of students behind Julian Harris School. Police say after the robbery, Cortez Mitchell took a picture of himself with one of the stolen phones, which later turned up in a victim’s iCloud and led police to Mitchell.
Police detail in the documents that Mitchell then directed police to the other three suspects, and the guns were found in the Cowan brothers’ home.
Decatur Police Chief Ed Taylor said, “We live in a great community. Decatur is a great town. We haven’t had a homicide since 2013. We had a horrible weekend, a horrible evening. It was the largest outbreak of violent crime in a short outbreak of time [as far as I can remember.] That’s not an indication of our community. This is a significant event. It will take families time to get over this. What I can say, the people who committed these crimes are in jail. We hope the families can take some comfort in that.”
More charges could be brought against the four as the investigation unfolds.