A two-day trial in SUmter County has come to an end with the conviction of 25-year-old Jesse James Shephard of Demopolis. On Thursday he was found guilty of last May's robbery and aggravated assault of Coatop night club owner, Jesse Bell.
On May 23 of last year, Bell was shot and critically wounded as he closed the Oak Tree Lounge which he co-owned. Four others were also accused in the case.
Since that time, two of the four, 21-year-old Willie Allen, Jr., and 20-year-old Jeffrey Allen, both of Jefferson, Alabama have pleaded guilty in the case. As for the other tow, charges against 27-year-old Michelle Shephard and 22-year-old Shimego Howell, both of Demopolis have been dismissed.
According to Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter, this was a very difficult case.
"It was real tough because everybody was trying to save himself by telling lies until we were able to get to the bottom of it the best we could."
As for Jesse James Shepard and Jeffrey and Will Allen, their sentencing dates are yet to be set. All could face up to 99 years to prison.
Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day holiday weekend, Sheriff Hatter has a message for the public.
"If you think you want to do your robbery and come to Sumter County, we're going to try to catch you!"