A look back at crime in 2011

Published 9:01 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It was an active year for court cases and police action in Pike County.

From sexual abuse-related arrests to drug raids, the charges issued in Pike County ran the gambit.

“We solved a number of property crimes, burglaries, drug arrests and had one murder case where we arrested four people,” said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough.

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Police Chief Jimmy Ennis said it is tough to measure success in situations where others have been victimized and are hurt, but he feels the Troy Police Department did a good job.

Probably the most talked-about unsolved crime of the year was a kidnapping of a Troy University student who was taken from her Smith Street home late in the evening on Jan. 10. The assailant forced the woman to drive to a remote county road in the Needmore area where he brutally attacked her. The student survived.

Although a $15,000 reward is being offered and police have released a composite sketch of a suspect, the attacker remains at large. A report on DNA evidence submitted to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has yet to be returned to local authorities.

Another high-profile case worked by local police this year involved the arrest of 51 people at a fraternity party on June 22.

Herbert Reeves, dean of students at Troy University, reported that “a little over half” of the people arrested at the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity were either current students, or those scheduled to begin classes in the fall.

The Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control board raided the party at The Pines. All those arrested, including football players, were charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol. One individual was also charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana). The ABC estimated there were at least 300 people at the party.

An April 5 double-homicide also made headlines, this year. Only two days after officers discovered Mark Kelvin Adams, 53, and Carla Leann Smilie, 22, dead at Adams’ home near the Needmore community, Troy Police arrested four men who have since been indicted.

John Contrel Foster, 20, of Troy; Troy Kentrell McClaney, 21, of Union Springs; Marquisse Rashad McClaney, 23, of Troy; and Brandon Jamal Ryles, 21, of Brundidge could face the death penalty.

Police said robbery was a motive in the murder and they did recover the weapons used.

“Many of the cases we saw this year, we solved,” Scarbrough said. “But there are those we will continue to investigate diligently.”

A big case closed for the Troy University Police came with the arrest of a transient man who stole about $23,000 worth of electronics from the university’s Stadium Tower in September.

Police picked up Jerod Turner, 22, of Taylor on Dec. 14 for other charges. Turner then confessed to taking laptops, cameras and Web streaming equipment. A secret witness tipped police off that Turner may have been selling the stolen property to pawn shops in Tuscaloosa.

The Pike County Sheriff’s Office busted a man for drug trafficking in a local mobile home park after they executed a search warrant on March 22 at the home of David Junior Williams, 30.

At the time of the raid, Williams residence in Hillside Mobile Home park held about three pounds of marijuana, a large amount of cash, a stolen gun, other firearms, and high-end electronics.

Sheriff Russell Thomas said deputies found Williams was selling large quantities of marijuana.

Thomas’s deputies and the Alabama Bureau of Investigations made another big arrest a couple of months later.

Former Goshen High School assistant football coach and science teacher Nick Daniel was arrested for sex crimes against minors. Daniel was arrested June 30 and on Dec. 19 pleaded guilty to one count of being a school employee having sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 and two counts of possession of obscene material involving a minor under the age of 17.

Daniel was sentenced to a 10-year split sentence. He’ll serve 15 months and then be released on probation for three years. Daniel must register as a sex offender. A violation of probation would mean Daniel would be incarcerated for his remaining sentence.

“I was proud to see the resolution of the Nick Daniel and Tripp Freeman matters,” said Pike County District Attorney Tom Anderson. “I feel as if we received justice for the victims involved.”

Tripp Freeman was arrested on May 13, 2010 in another very public case.

Freeman was indicted on three counts of sodomy first degree, two counts of enticing a child and one count of attempted sodomy first degree. One county of sodomy and one count of enticing a child were dropped on Dec. 4 when Freeman pleaded guilty to the other charges.

Freeman’s plea was entered the day before jury selection was to begin for his upcoming trial. His sentencing is set for Jan. 31, 2012.

Although the District Attorney’s office saw many victories this year, it wasn’t without extreme focus and effort.

Anderson explained, just like many agencies, he was forced to make cuts to his operation and his staff worked diligently to make sure cases were still handled with the utmost care.

Anderson had to eliminate a full-time prosecutor, two part-time assistant district attorneys, a full-time staff member and move a full-time investigator to part-time status.

“That’s a lot for any agency to take,” Anderson said. “I am proud to say though, we were able to resolve cases in a more efficient manner.”

Anderson also said his office was able to work with local judges to establish a drug court, plea conferences and plea days.

“We’ve been able to save the state and local government money,” Anderson said. “We always think we could do better and we strive to do that each and every day.”