List of Birmingham homicides in 2007

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This is a List of Birmingham homicides in 2007. It includes homicide cases occuring within the city limits during the calendar year. Note that a "homicide" refers to the cause of death as determined by a medical examiner, not to the commission of the crime of murder as charged by police and prosecutors.

Birmingham had 94 homicides in 2007. Based on the 2006 census estimate of 229,424 population, that represents 41.0 homicides per 100,000 population for the year. The total represents a 14% drop from the 109 homicides in 2006. The city counted 105 in 2005, and a record of 141 in 1992.

Birmingham reported 86 murders to the FBI under its Uniform Crime Reporting program. The FBI used census data from previous years to project the city's 2007 population at 227,686. By those counts the city's murder rate was 37.8 per 100,000. A comparison of those statistics prepared by indicates that Birmingham ranked 8th nationally for its 2007 homicide rate among cities with a population greater than 100,000.

The city averaged 7.8 homicides per month, or one every 3.9 days. There were 14 homicides in July, 13 in November, 12 in October, 10 in September, 8 each in January and June, 6 in May, August and December, and 4 each in February, March, and April. The longest stretch without a homicide was between February 26 and March 22.

Of the 94 recorded homicides, suspects have been reported identified in at least 61 cases, apprehended in 48, charged in 41, and convicted in 21 (including 9 guilty pleas). Two trials ended in acquittals and nine cases were dismissed. One conviction was overturned. One case was a murder-suicide. Two incidents were police shootings, one of which was ruled justified and one of which remains under investigation.

76 of the 94 were shootings. 28 took place inside residences while 28 occurred on the street. Of the victims, 67 were black males, 13 white males, 6 white females, 5 black females, 2 Hispanic males and one Middle Eastern immigrant. In the majority of cases, police could not establish a prior relationship between murderer and victim. In 25 cases the victims were known to be acquainted with their killers, 11 of which arose from domestic violence. 5 are known to have been committed by strangers.

A 2008 study by UAB researchers showed that 24% of victims seriously injured by violent acts died from their injuries in 2007, compared to 41% in 1997.

Listing by date

Timeline showing homicides in 2007
  1. January 1: Wyteria Rogers, 20, was found shot in her car on 200 block of 93rd Street North (map). Gregory Johnson Jr, the father of her child, was convicted of capital murder in September 2008 and sentenced to life without parole. Investigators showed that he shot her after she grew upset about another woman calling his cell phone. (report)
  2. January 1: Lavaughn Fortune, 34, ambushed in planned robbery at King City Food Mart at Warrior Road and Avenue P in Belview Heights (map). Following testimony from two drug defendants who claimed to have witnessed the shootng, Mark Edward Smith Jr was arrested and charged with capital murder in October 2009. It is believed he was targeting a man who had sold the car to Fortune a week earlier. Smith is also charged with the 2008 murder of Quinton Washington. (report)
  3. January 11: Michael Elmore, 33, stabbed at his apartment at 2341 8th Street Northwest ( Sun Valley Apartments) (map) after an altercation. Neighbor Nathaniel Gordon was taken into custody at the scene and later charged with murder. [1]
  4. January 19: Alberto Jackson, 39, shot by police during a confrontation on the 4100 block of 5th Court North in the Tom Brown Housing Community (map). He was taken to UAB Hospital and pronounced dead on the operating table. The shooting was ruled justifiable by investigators. [2]
  5. January 20: James Young, 38, found in burning car at Appalachee Street and 11th Avenue North (map). Artago Wilson, 26, of Ensley was arrested and charged with murder. [3]
  6. January 24: Deston Lyons, 24, found in back yard of apartment building at 609 8th Street West (map). Jason Lockett was charged with capital murder, but the charges were dismissed in 2008. (report)
  7. January 26: Aubrey Graham, 42, shot at 4609 Carver Avenue in Hillman Park (map). Suspect arrested. [4]
  8. January 31: Patrick Grayson, 37, found shot on 2900 block of S. J. Bennett Drive in Wenonah (map). No arrest. [5]
  9. February 6: Wendell Ray Austin, 44, found in back yard at 2713 29th Place Ensley in the Fairview neighborhood (map). Travis Griffin was arrested and charged with murder. [6]
  10. February 8: Donald Brookins, 25, shot in a mid-day gunfight at 2218 Avenue I Ensley. (map). Morris Thomas was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. (report)
  11. February 9: Ronald Smith Jr, 19, was shot to death at 2948 Gallant Drive in Apple Valley (map). Kevin DeWayne Lane, a former boyfriend of Smith's girlfriend, Ebony Smith (no relation) shot him three times inside her apartment. He was convicted of intentional murder and sentenced to 75 years in prison. In November 2009 Lane was granted a new trial because jurors had not been given an opportunity to consider a lesser charge of provocation manslaughter. On retrial he was again found guilty of intentional murder and again sentenced to 75 years. (report)
  12. February 26: Joseph Van McGhee, 26, confined to a wheelchair after a previous gunshot wound, was hit by a shot intended for his cousin while visiting his cousin's home on the 400 block of Princeton Avenue (map). McGhee was pronounced dead at UAB Hospital. Investigators determined that the gunfight was started by Davarrios Noel, who then used McGhee as a human shield. He was charged with felony murder and attempted murder, but found not guilty in a January 2009 jury trial. Noel's intended victim and McGhee's shooter, Edderick Anderson, was injured in the gunfight and was not charged in the death. [7]
  13. March 22: Bryant Mason, 19, shot on the front porch of 7418 1st Avenue South in Eastlake (map). Mason later died at UAB Hospital. [8]
  14. March 27: Marvin Speights, 46, shot in car, found after crashing into utility pole at a parking lot on the 1200 block of Bankhead Highway in Thomas. (map). [9]
  15. March 27: Conoard Norris, 21, was assaulted by several men in the parking lot of Triple T's Food Store at 2517 Bush Boulevard in Ensley after an insult about Norris' clothes escalated into violence (map). Gaivan Deandre Paige, Marcell Cummings, Marquette Cummings, Traon Darnell Call and Ali Buford were all charged with capital murder in the shooting. The Cummings brothers and Paige pleaded guilty to intentional murder and were sentenced to life without parole. Call was acquitted in March 2009, and Buford's case was dismissed in 2009. Marquette Cummings was stabbed to death in a fight in the St Clair County Correctional Facility in 2014. (report)
  16. March 30: Darryontae Plummer, 22, shot at 86th Place North and 86th Way in Zion City (map). Another man was injured in the same shooting. Brandon Varner and Roy Seals pleaded guilty to murder. Varner received a life sentence and Seals got 25 years. (report)
  17. April 7: Brandon Reid, 18, shot on 800 block of Graymont Avenue (map). He was taken to UAB Hospital where he later died. [10]
  18. April 6: William G. Bishop, 56, died from blunt force trauma after fighting with William James Johnson in a wooded area at 8th Avenue North and Carraway Boulevard (map). Both men were homeless. Johnson has been arrested and charged with murder. [11]
  19. April 12: Thomas Jesse Smith, 51, shot in his van (which was his home) at 21st Street North and 31st Avenue North, then crashed at 31st and 20th Street North (map). He was pronounced dead at Carraway Hospital. No arrest. [12]
  20. April 25: Calvin Square, 32, shot in chest after an altercation with another male in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the 2000 block of Avenue J in the Tuxedo community of Ensley (map). The victim was transported to UAB Hospital where he died. The suspect surrendered to police at the scene, but has not been charged. [13]
  21. May 9: Annie Ruth Gullion, 53, found in badly decomposed state alongside railroad track in a wooded area near the 3200 block of 2nd Avenue North (map). Though the cause has not yet been determined, her death is being investigated as a homicide. [14]
  22. May 20: John Langer Malone, 25, found dead on the porch of a home at 1869 St Charles Court in west Birmingham (map). No arrest. [15]
  23. May 25: Amanda Bryant, 21, transient and prostitute, was found dead at 36th Avenue West and 32nd Court West from a gunshot to the head. Terry Roshaun Pruitt and Derek Wright were charged with capital murder in July 2009. Truitt was imprisoned on other charges and Wright turned himself in to police in July 2009. [16]
  24. May 26: Mikylah Mays, 3 months old, found unresponsive at home at 6725 1st Avenue South and later pronounced dead at Children's Hospital (map). The infant's parents, Michael Mays, 23, and Joycelyn Smitherman, 22, were arrested on suspicion of murder, but later released when the District Attorney declined to charge them for lack of evidence. [17]
  25. May 30: William DeAngelo Perry, 20, found shot on steps in front of his apartment building at 8009 1st Avenue South (map). Cortney Chancellor convicted of murder and sentenced to life. (report)
  26. May 31: Keith Brown, 38, found shot in a parking lot on the 200 block of Oporto-Madrid Boulevard (map). He died on June 1 at UAB Hospital. [18]
  27. June 2: Mark Andrew, 38, stabbed outside The Station, 2025 Morris Avenue (map). Two other men were wounded in the altercation. [19]
  28. June 4: Sanchez Quiroz Barbarino, 29, of Arizona was found dead, badly beaten, in the back seat of a 2000 Nissan Maxima on the 100 block of Lexington Street in Wylam (map). [20]
  29. June 5: Alfonzo Turner, 21, shot during a struggle with a Birmingham City Schools security officer at Hayes High School, 505 43rd Street North (map). A grand jury declined to indict the guard on criminal charges. [21]
  30. June 6: David Burrell, 19, found shot to death at 4819 Court V in Ensley (map). Ronley Ashley Jr, was charged with capital murder, but the case was dismissed in 2009. (report)
  31. June 12: Nelson Rice, 27, shot in the parking lot of the Uptown Apartments at 1517 19th Street North (Druid Hills) after an argument inside one of the units. (map). Luran Harrell was charged and arrested on a bus in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. [22]
  32. June 12: Corey Kermaine Smith, 21, was shot just east of Village Creek near the intersection of 23rd Street Southwest and Fulton Avenue Southwest (map). The shooting followed an altercation with another man. Governor Bob Riley has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case. [23]
  33. June 17: Steven Smith, 45, was shot in the parking lot of the Havenwood Apartments at 4233 3rd Avenue South in Avondale (map). Leonard Dinson was arrested at the scene and charged with murder. [24]
  34. June 29: Raymond May, 47, was shot on the 200 block of Bolin Street in the Loveman Village housing project in South Titusville. (map). Lenzy Gibson pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Accomplice Icaac Ray Bankhead provided the shotgun Gibson used and drove the getaway car. He was convicted at trial in August 2008 and sentenced to 30 years. [25]
  35. July 1: Lucille Marie "Greta" Carter, 44, a prostitute, was found shot and dumped on the 100 block of Finley Avenue with a bag over her head (map). Bruce D. Mendenhall of Albion, Illinois, a trucker and suspected serial killer was arrested on July 12 in Nashville, Tennessee. His statement implicated him in at least six murders and he was charged in Carter's death based on witness descriptions of his truck. In May 2010 he was convicted of the murder of Sarah Nicole Hulbert in Nashville. He has also been charged with solicitation of murder in the attempt to contract for the murders of two Nashville police detectives and three witnesses after his arrest. (report)
  36. July 4: Renard Davidson, 19, found shot inside 553 41st Place North in North Avondale (map). [26]
  37. July 4: Cornelius Hudson, 21, was shot on the 8600 block of 2nd Avenue North after turning a deal to sell 18 Oxy-Contin tablets into a robbery. (map). Patrick Scott Higgins was charged with capital murder but was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. [27]
  38. July 7: Latorya Johnson, 23 and pregnant, was shot inside her apartment at 1785 Pearson Avenue Southwest. Her boyfriend, David Lockett has been charged with capital murder. [28]
  39. July 15: Eddie Lee Jackson, 42, found dead in a pick-up truck that crashed into a house at 912 3rd Street Pratt in Pratt City immediately after gunshots were heard in the vicinity (map). No arrest. [29]
  40. July 15: Janet Frame, 37, found dead in a pick-up truck that crashed into a house at 912 3rd Street Pratt in Pratt City immediately after gunshots were heard in the vicinity (map). No arrest. [30]
  41. July 16: Abdo Kasim Musa, 28, a clerk at Matt's Market at 3320 17th Avenue North (map), was shot to death as he closed the store around 11:00 PM. The owner of the store offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Radhwan Mushen, a Michigan resident, was arrested and charged based on an information that Mushen attempted to contract him to kill Musa as revenge for the murder of one of his relatives by a relative of Musa's. Those charges were later dismissed by prosecutors. [31]
  42. July 17: Skeletal remains of an unidentified male found in a shallow grave off 27th Avenue North near the CSX Railroad tracks. A homeless woman was arrested for hindering prosecution in connection with the case, which was ruled a homicide based on autopsy results. [32]
  43. July 18: Sylvester Cobb, 31, shot in front of his home on the 1400 block of Eufaula Avenue in Bush Hills (map). No arrest. [33]
  44. July 20: Eulin Matthews III, 19, shot in a gunfight outside a nightlcub near the intersection of 6th Avenue North and 16th Street North downtown (map). A suspect has been identified, but there is not enough evidence to date for a charge. [34]
  45. July 20: William Robert Ross, 42, found at 3601 36th Avenue North (map). He was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead. [35]
  46. July 21: Martaveous Wilson, 24, shot inside house at 845 42nd Place North (map). Charles Knight was charged with capital murder. [36]
  47. July 22: Larry Whitson, 50, found stabbed to death in his locked bedroom in an apartment on Tuscaloosa Avenue (map). [37] No arrest.
  48. July 25: Derrick Williams, 29, found shot to death inside his burning house at 225 Newark Circle (map). His infant daughter was safe in her car seat in his SUV outside. A suspect has been identified, but there is not enough evidence for a charge. [38]
  49. August 8: Timmy Ray Brown, 39, shot in a car at 2nd Avenue South and Oporto-Madrid Boulevard. He died later at Baptist Medical Center Princeton (map). [39]
  50. August 13: Christopher Ogletree, 47 was shot by police during a confrontation in his yard at 1053 40th Street Ensley (map). Witnesses say Ogletree had spent several days in the yard before police were summoned. The officer called for backup and was attacked with a knife before he fired the single shot that killed Ogletree. BPD's internal affairs division and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident. [40]
  51. August 19: Ronald Lewis, 20, shot in the abdomen outside a Southside nightclub. He was found dead in the alley behind the 1200 block of 20th Street South near Highland Avenue (map). The case remains unsolved. A $5,000 reward for information has been announced by Governor Riley. [41]
  52. August 20: Walker Yow, 63, shot in the abdomen during a robbery on the 8900 block of Parkway East in Roebuck (map). He died at UAB Hospital that evening. Two suspects who left in a red Jeep Cherokee are sought. [42]
  53. August 23: Donnie Ashford, 55, shot outside his flatbed tow truck at Avenue Z and 29th Street Ensley. Deverargray Miller was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. An accomplice was also investigated. (report)
  54. September 5: Clyde Patrick, 44, died shortly after being shot by Birmingham Police using an electric stun gun at 19th Street and 5th Avenue South on August 2. The death was classified by the Jefferson County Coroner as a homicide on September 5 and turned over to the District Attorney. [43]
  55. September 7: Edmund Anthony Frison, 23, found shot in a black Ford Crown Victoria parked at Inglenook Park on the 400 block of 37th Avenue North. [44]
  56. September 7: Damion Arterrius Butler, 23, found shot in a black Ford Crown Victoria parked at Inglenook Park on the 400 block of 37th Avenue North. [45]
  57. September 8: Larry Coleman, 58, found shot on the 5800 block of Martin Luther Avenue in West Birmingham. No arrest. [46]
  58. September 9: Charles Lawrence, 21, found in a car in a wooded area near Slayden Avenue in Sherman Heights. Dedric Mullins, 16, was charged with capital murder and turned himself in. He was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in July 2009. (report)
  59. September 7: Cesar Bevacqua, 29, found dead on the 2600 block of 28th Avenue North. No arrest.
  60. September 19: Tyrone Sanders, 24, was found shot on 300 block of 12th Street Southwest after an apparent robbery. A suspect was found wounded nearby. [47]
  61. September 20: New evidence led authorities to reclassify the January 12, 2000 drowning death of 2-year-old Christopher Blake Thompson as a homicide. Thompson's body was found on the banks of Five Mile Creek about a mile northwest of his house on Stoudemire Avenue in Roebuck. Thompson's step-father John Osburn, is now implicated in the death.
  62. September 23: Robert Pleasant, 58, found dead in home at 2421 29th Street West in Ensley. A 23-year-old suspect was taken into custody, but has not yet been charged. [48]
  63. September 30: Michael William Bamberg, 65, was found beaten with his throat cut at his home at 1300 Impala Drive in the Spring Lake neighborhood of Huffman (map). Jabari Leon Bascomb has been arrested and charged with capital murder. He pleaded guilty to intentional murder and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. (report)
  64. October 8: Kayla Nicole Fanaei, a student at UAB, found shot to death in her car in the Glen Iris Elementary School parking lot on the 1100 block of 11th Street South (map). Alfred Jerrell Marina, Maurice McCarty and Gregory Hill were arrested and charged with capital murder. Hill pleaded guilty to felony murder and was sentenced to 25 years. After two mistrials, McCarty was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in 2010. Marina rejected a plea deal and was convicted of felony murder in August 2010. He was given a 50 year sentence. (report)]
  65. October 11: Dexter White, 51, found shot, beaten and tied up on the side of the road on the 5300 block of Park Avenue Southwest between Wenonah and Lipscomb (map).
  66. October 15: O'Neal Gray, 51, shot and killed outside his house on the 6000 block of Jesse Owens Avenue in the Roosevelt neighborhood. (map). Toree Jones pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years. (report)
  67. October 16: Matthew Walker, 38, found in vacant house on Nelson Drive in Roebuck (map). No arrest. A $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction has been offered by the Governor's office. [49]
  68. October 17: Susan Young, 46, shot in a drive-by near the 4100 block of 4th Avenue South in Avondale. [50]
  69. October 19: Santiago Cunningham, 18, shot in a drive-by on the 5900 block of 1st Avenue North. [51]
  70. October 20: Jermaine Johnson, 33, shot on South Park Road near Fulton Avenue Southwest in the Central Park neighborhood. [52]
  71. October 21: Matthew Smith, 23 months old, found at home. Pronounced dead at Children's Hospital. Nikia Cornell McConico, a housemate, was taken into custody and was charged with capital murder following the coroner's report that the death was a homicide. His September 2009 prosecution ended in a mistrial. McConico later pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse and served a three year sentence ending in June 2012. (report)
  72. October 26: Eliase Jackson (sometimes spelled Elice), 44, an eyewitness to the murder of Fairfield Police Officer Mary Smith on October 23, 2006, was shot trying to drive away from a drug-related robbery at an apartment complex on Tuscaloosa Avenue. He was found dead behind the wheel of a car that ran into a house on the 500 block of 12th Street Southwest. Courtney Jarico White pleaded guilty to felony murder and was sentenced to 20 years. (report)
  73. October 26: Kenneth Holmes, 21, was shot to death while sitting in his car near Legion Field after the Magic City Classic. Stetory Calhoun, the boyfriend of Holmes' child's mother, fired multiple shots into the Crown Victoria, striking Holmes twice. Holmes made it as far 4th Avenue North and 13th Street before losing consciousness and colliding with a Buick LeSabre. Calhoun was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. (report)
  74. October 28: Cameron Horn, 15, shot at his cousin's home on the 4800 block of Court R in the Central Park community. The shooting may have been accidental. [53]
  75. October 28: Nathan McGee, 29, shot and killed in argument, possibly with his sister, in the parking lot of an apartment building near the intersection of 6th Street North and 16th Terrace North. [54]
  76. November 4: Scott "Blue" Bernstein, 51, found shot to death in his Chevrolet Tracker on Cotton Avenue across the street from New Era Baptist Church. More than $10,000 in rewards were offered for information leading to a conviction. Richard Morris and Teiara Marchbank were arrested in January 2014 and charged with his murder. During a preliminary hearing, defense attorneys informed Judge Tommy Nail that the pair sought retribution for having been given counterfeit bills during an earlier drug transaction. Prosecutors dropped the case when they found contradictions between phone records and witness testimony. (report)
  77. November 6: William Wilfred Hackney, 21, shot on the 100 block of 1st Street South in North Titusville. Kenneth Ford Jr has been charged with capital murder. [55]
  78. November 8: David Reeves, 28, shot on Bessemer Super Highway, heading east near the Midfield city limits. He drove to Avenue K and Meadow Lane before falling unconscious. Police believe he may have been a random target of road rage. [56]
  79. November 10: Sandra Alexander, also known as Sandra Dingle, 48, was stabbed with a screwdriver in the closed Parliament House hotel at 4th Avenue South and 20th Street while trying to break up a fight. Keith Alexander (no relation) has been charged with intentional murder. [57]
  80. November 11: Clifton Smith, 19, shot on an outside hallway of an apartment on the 2900 block of Gallant Drive. Two teenage suspects were charged with capital murder, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence after a witness recanted her testimony. A $5,000 reward for information was announced by Governor Riley in July 2008. [58]
  81. November 16: Ashley Stratton, 30, shot in his car during a robbery on the 4400 block of 11th Court North in Kingston. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead. [59]
  82. November 17: Brandon Cobb, 21, found by mailman on porch of abandoned house at 3906 36th Avenue North in Inglenook. The time and cause of death have not been made public. [60]
  83. November 17: Robert V. Payne, 41, found dead, beaten and partially burned in a garage behind a house at 7422 1st Avenue South in East Lake. Christopher Lauderdale has been arrested and charged with murder. [61]
  84. November 18: Houston Cook, 33, shot to death on the 100 block of 59th Street North in Woodlawn. Myles Levins was arrested and charged with murder, but the case was dismissed in 2009. (report)
  85. November 24: Latrisha Pruitt, 26, found strangled to death under a pile of clothes in the garage of her burned home at 410 West Smithfield Circle in Dolomite. Kortney Simon, the father of her newborn child, was charged with murder and arson. He was convicted after a cellmate testified about his description of the crime. [62]
  86. November 25: Ervin Wilkerson Jr, 29, shot in a pickup truck while fleeing from a gunfight that started at Momma and Sons Hideaway at 3537 37th Street Southwest. Wilkerson was found in an alley behind the 3200 block of Alameda Avenue. A $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction has been offered by the Governor's office. [63]
  87. November 29: Bobby Germany, 17, found dead from gunshot wound behind an abandoned house in the 800 block of 47th Street North in Kingston. Three people were taken in for questioning. [64]
  88. November 29: Lane Mitchell Smiley, 21, shot in car in alley behind the 100 block of 9th Avenue West in East Thomas. [65]
  89. December 8: Samuel Holmes, 44, found beaten on 49th Street Ensley in front of Central Park Elementary School. Darian Ward, from whose mother's car Holmes was suspected of stealing $35, was charged with intentional murder on February 7, 2008. [66]
  90. December 14: Calvin McLarin, 19, shot at the intersection of 34th Court North and 30th Street. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. [67]
  91. December 19: Graham Bankston, 7 weeks old, found shot in back yard at 4220 7th Avenue South in Avondale. His mother, Jennifer Bankston, was also found dead and is believed to have perpetrated a murder-suicide. [68]
  92. December 23: David Solis, 38, shot near the 1st Avenue North exit ramp from I-20 in Woodlawn. [69]
  93. December 25: Elbert Bell, 52, found shot in garage of house on 5100 block of 9th Avenue North after an argument. Duane Earl Fanning II pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 25 years. (report)
  94. December 30: Jeffery Davis, 43, shot in the Legion Field parking lot. No arrest. [70]

Other cases

  • February 4: Darrion "DJ" Grant Jr, 3, died in a fire at his home. His mother, Lashonda Spigner, had left him with a 9-year-old brother to go to a nightclub. The oven, which she had left on to help heat the house, caused the fire. Though the death was not counted as a homicide during 2007, Spigner was charged with manslaughter. She was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in July 2008 and sentenced to 12 months in prison. [71]
  • November 18: Kapali Giridhar Swamy, 27, died in Cullman County after being hit in the head by a man to whom he was giving a ride home after a night out in Birmingham. Though Swamy's death was ruled a homicide, his attacker, Christopher Brett Pennington, was not charged in the death. [72]
  • December 15: Larry Armstead, 40, died after struggling with a security guard who chased him from St Vincent's Medical Center to the alley behind the 2500 block of 9th Court South the previous afternoon (map). Although Armstead had a pre-existing heart condition and evidence of cocaine in his blood, the Jefferson County Coroner's Office ruled on January 31, 2008 that the death was a homicide. The case will be presented to the Jefferson County District Attorney to decide whether charges will be filed. [73]

Responses

Carole Smitherman, President of the Birmingham City Council proposed increasing staffing for the Narcotics and Vice Units of the Birmingham Police Department as an effort to reduce drug activity, which is thought to be a primary factor in the homicide rate. Mayor Bernard Kincaid replied that the size of those departments is already ideal, and was praised in a recent accreditation review. (Bryant - Jan 12, 2007)

The Council's Public Safety Committee met with John Sloan, Chair of the UAB Department of Justice Sciences, to discuss remedies for the city's crime rate which could be recommended to the Mayor and Police Chief Annetta Nunn. Sloan discussed steps the city of Boston took in the early 1990s to reduce homicide, which started with a detailed analysis of case data. Also at the meeting were Jefferson County Medical Examiner Robert Brissie, who reported that 41% of victims had drugs in their system and called the "drug mess" a "serious, serious problem." Nunn, also in attendence, brought the Council's attention to a 1997 crime reduction plan which has never been fully implemented. (Bryant - Jan 18)

On January 23, the mayor and council endorsed Sloan's study and approved spending as much as $150,000 to have Sloan's department study police records and re-interview suspects, witnesses and family members. Councilor Joel Montgomery expressed the council's decision that the 1997 crime plan was "absolutely irrelevant to what's going on now." (Bryant - Jan 24)

On April 19 the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists held a "Town Hall Meeting on Violence" at 16th Street Baptist Church. Guests included Mayor Bernard Kincaid, Birmingham City Council president Carole Smitherman, Police Chief Annetta Nunn, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, District Court Judge Eric Fancher, Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber, Alabama Sentencing Commission member Rosa Davis, Birmingham Division of Youth Services director Cedric Sparks, UAB criminologist John Sloan, Reverend Steve Green of More Than Conquerors Faith Church, Carolyn Johnson of Parents Against Violence and Foster Cook of Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes. The event was televised on WBRC 6, ABC 33/40, and CBS 42, and aired live on WAGG AM 610. (Norris - Apr 18)

By June 8, with only 30 homicides compared to 42 at the same point in 2006, the Council acknowledged the police department's apparent successes and decided not to proceed with the proposed study. (Bryant - June 10). With funds, partly from a major narcotics-related seizure, the Police Department has applied for a matching grant to obtain hardware and software for a modern crime database. With the ability to pinpoint crime patterns quickly, the department hopes to better implement the "CompStat" accountability procedures pioneered in the New York Police Department. (Hansen - Aug 5)

Crime reduction was the single most important issue to voters polled prior to the 2007 Birmingham mayoral election. Most candidates spoke in favor of increasing the number of police officers as well as the accountability of the department. Valerie Abbott, William Bell, Patrick Cooper, and Carole Smitherman pledged tougher enforcement, with Cooper offering a "six point plan" based on successful plans implemented in New York City. Larry Langford espoused more discipline in the home and a program to give local students college scholarships as key elements in his crime reduction plan. Langford was elected.

References

  • 2007 Press Releases from Birmingham Police Department
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (January 12, 2007) "Smitherman says homicides linked to drugs." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (January 18, 2007) "Council wants data on city's homicides." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (January 24, 2007) "Homicides focus of $150,000 plan." Birmingham News
  • Norris, Toraine (April 18, 2007) "Black Birmingham journalists to host town hall meeting on violence." Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (May 1, 2007) "Homicides decline in first three months." Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (June 10, 2007) "With slayings down, crime study shelved." Birmingham News
  • Hansen, Jeff (August 5, 2007) "Crime date brings stats into focus." Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (September 29, 2007) "Riley offers rewards in local slayings." Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (December 31, 2007) "Unsolved killings leave Birmingham families, police seeking answers." Birmingham News
  • "List of unsolved homicides in Birmingham for 2007" (December 31, 2007) Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (January 1, 2008) "Homicides in Jefferson, Shelby counties decrease in 2007." Birmingham News
  • Archibald, John (January 10, 2008) "City among worst in all types of crime." Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (May 25, 2008) "Birmingham trauma care keeps pace with rising violence." Birmingham News

External links

See also