Clarke County Murder Update

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24-year-old Doris Vann and 30-year-old Shaun Singleton, both of Gilbertown, Ala., had nothing to say after a Clarke County judge denied them bond. Both are charged with capital murder for the July 26 death of Elmer Dobbins, 73, from the Crandall Community.

One other suspect, 27-year-old Joseph McHenry, also of Gilbertown, is also jailed in the case. He's being held in the Choctaw County Jail in Butler, Ala., where he's fighting extradition to Mississippi.

According to investigators, Dobbins knew the three suspects. The trio allegedly asked for and received money from Dobbins the day he was killed, then returned later to ask for more and he refused. That's when investigators say the 73-year-old was killed by a blow to the head with a claw hammer.

"It's senseless," said Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp. "You've got three people trying to fund a drug habit at Mr. Elmer Dobbins' expense."

Since taking the three into custody, officers have also arrested 29-year-old Jerry D. Franks of Quitman. Franks is allegedly the man who supplied drugs for the three.

While Sheriff Kemp says robbery appears to be the motive in the murder, he says new information has surfaced that could link the murder to a separate conspiracy case in west Alabama.

According to investigators, Dobbins was killed the day before he was to testify in a separate case in Choctaw County, in which a relative of one defendant was involved. No other details were available.

Kemp says he's confident that there is enough evidence at hand for convictions in the case.

"We are very confident. We have a mountain of physical evidence," Kemp said. "Plus, we have confessions form all three individuals."

Doris Vann and Shaun Singleton's cases are expected to go before a grand jury in February 2006. If found guilty of capital murder, all could face the death penalty.


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