2012 Ensley Highlands murders
The 2012 Ensley Highlands murders were five homicides committed by alleged robbers who broke in on a card game at a house at 3113 Avenue S in Ensley Highlands (map) on the morning of Sunday, January 29, 2012.
The Birmingham Police Department responded to neighbors' reports of a robbery in progress around 3:30 AM. They found five victims in the house, four of whom had been shot in the back of the head at point-blank range. The victims were identified two days later as friends and relatives who regularly got together to play cards.
Three suspects were charged with five counts each of capital murder. Police chief A. C. Roper believes that the principal perpetrators have all been arrested and charged, but investigation continues into the possible involvement of others. Though no details have been provided, police have said that at least one of the suspects was known to at least one of the victims, and that the primary motive was robbery.
- Ronnie Render, 42, a janitorial worker and caretaker, was the brother of Angie Render, in whose name the home was rented. He and his wife had five children. He was buried at Zion Memorial Gardens.
- Charles "C. J." Render, 21, was Ronnie Render's nephew. He worked in construction and as a nightclub security guard. He was buried at Zion Memorial Gardens.
- Jeffrey Davis, Jr, 23, a Midfield High School graduate, worked as a sign-holder for Forestdale's Cash For Gold. He lived with the Renders while he saved money to buy a car. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
- Jonathan Sanchez, 23, was a cook at the Summit Club and had recently been named "Employee of the Month". He and his girlfriend had one daughter. He was a visitor to the house. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
- Demetrius Sanford, 19, was C. J.'s cousin, a junior at Parker High School, and father of one. He had driven up to the house while the robbery was in progress. One or more attackers brought him into the house where he was shot and killed. He was buried at Zion Memorial Gardens.
Interviews with neighborhood residents revealed that the robbery had been interrupted in progress, and that at least two people may have escaped unharmed. On Sunday evening, police, with help from U. S. Marshals, arrested three individuals in Dolomite in connection with the investigation.
None of the three were formally charged at that point, but were booked with an indication that capital murder charges would be filed. One of the three, a 24-year-old, had recently pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and was also under indictment for attempted murder and assault in another county. He was released the next day with no charge. His younger brother, Markell Devante Bell, 18, was charged with robbery in an unrelated incident. The two of them had been involved in an automobile collision on Sunday afternoon in Fairfield that claimed the life of Alona Rebecca Farries. They were passengers in an SUV driven by Shakela Johnson of Hueytown.
The other suspect, Rashad Stoves, 17, a Wenonah High School student, was convicted on five counts of felony murder and one count of reckless manslaughter. Alan Baty was the prosecutor assigned to the case. Judge Stephen Wallace appointed attorneys Ralph Sheffield and Kira Fonteneau to represent Stoves. He was convicted in November 2014 and sentenced in March 2015 to serve six concurrent life sentences, with the possibility of parole.
On February 1, police announced the arrest of Artavius Underwood, 16. He was also charged with five counts of murder and in a separate robbery. He pleaded guilty in 2014 and was given a life sentence.
A community candlelight vigil brought about 75 people to the area where the crime occurred on the evening of February 1. Family members of the victims as well as neighbors, community activists, and Birmingham City Councilman Steven Hoyt attended.
- Gray, Jeremy (January 29, 2012) "5 found dead in west Birmingham house." Birmingham News
- Faulk, Kent (January 29, 2012) "Birmingham police seek information in slayings of five men in Ensley Highlands." Birmingham News
- Faulk, Kent (January 29, 2012) "Jefferson County Coroner's Office: identifications of five men killed in Ensley still pending." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (January 30, 2012) "Trio held in connection with mass slaying in Birmingham; suspects include 2 teens." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (January 30, 2012) "Two suspects in Birmingham mass killing involved in fatal crash hours before slayings." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (January 31, 2012) "Police identify victims of Sunday's mass slaying in Ensley." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (January 31, 2012) "Families of 5 slain in Birmingham remember loved ones as kind and hard workers." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (February 1, 2012) "Rashad Stoves, 17, charged in Birmingham quintuple homicide." Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (February 1, 2012) "Update: Second suspect charged in Birmingham mass slaying." Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (February 1, 2012) "Family members of mass slaying victims weep during Birmingham vigil." Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (February 2, 2012) "Third teen charged in Birmingham's quintuple homicides." Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (February 2, 2012) "Funeral services announced for mass homicide victims; court appearance set for suspect." Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (February 3, 2012) "Birmingham Police Chief speaks out on quintuple killings." Birmingham News
- Velasco, Eric (February 3, 2012) "Teen capital defendant in Birmingham slayings of five gets court-appointed lawyers." Birmingham News
- Kennedy, Veronica (February 9, 2012) "Birmingham SCLC president says the presence of fathers and return to family values can help curb crime." Birmingham News