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Calhoun sentenced to life for Huk-A-Buk murder

The first defendant in the Huk-A-Buk murder case was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday by Judge Robert Barr.

Derrick Towan Calhoun, one of two co-defendants accused of robbing and killing Roy Faulkner Oct. 17, 2001, at the local barbeque restaurant, was sentenced to life in prison on each of two counts: robbery in the first degree and felony murder.

Calhoun changed his plea to guilty after striking a last-minute plea bargain with 12th District Circuit District Attorney Gary McAliley.

McAliley said the state was first seeking a conviction for capital murder, which carries the death penalty, but agreed to the lessor murder charge in exchange for Calhoun's testimony in the trial of co-defendant Kenneth Andre Cargill.

The sentence would allow Calhoun to be eligible for parole "at some time down the road," Barr told Calhoun from the bench.

Calhoun has two prior felony convictions and was sentenced under Alabama's habitual offender laws.

Barr asked Calhoun to explain the circumstances surround the murder of Roy Faulkner during the proceedings.

Calhoun told the court, peppered with members of both the Faulkner and the Calhoun families and various law enforcement personnel, he thought Faulkner was reaching for his wallet, but withdrew a gun instead.

Faulkner began firing at Calhoun and Cargill with his .22 caliber pistol, striking Cargill at least once. Calhoun, who was holding an SKS assault rifle with a bayonette attached to the end of it according to McAliley, said he bolted for the back door, chambering a round in order to "shoot the lock off" the back door.

Faulkner pursued and cornered Calhoun near a bathroom: "What I had in mind was to shoot the pistol out of his hand," Calhoun told Barr.

Instead, he shot Faulkner "six or seven times," Calhoun said.

After Calhoun's statements, during which he answered several other questions from Barr, McAliley established the factual basis for trial be providing a summary of testimony collected during the course of the investigation.

Mary Faulkner, Roy's wife, was present at the proceeding and nodded her agreement to McAliley's presentation of the facts.

Prior to sentencing, Barr asked Calhoun if he had anything to say: "No, your honor."

Calhoun was also ordered to pay restitution to the Alabama Crime Victim's Compensation Commission in the amount of $15,000, and restitution to Mary Faulkner of $13,979 plus court costs and attorneys fees.

A trial date in Cargill's case will be set quickly, McAliley said.

"This is a 2001 case that should have been resolved long ago for the benefit of all parties," he said.