Looking back: Unusually high number of deaths investigated in 2018

Published 3:06 am Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Star-News generally focuses on positive news when looking back at year-end, but we’d be remiss if we did not note the unusually high number of murders investigated in 2018.

• The first occurred in Florala in March, when Phillip George Parker of Florala allegedly shot and killed Tekevious Darnell Best in front of the Huddle House in an apparent argument over visitation issues, Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said. The children were not present. Eye witnesses identified Parker, who fled the scene.

• On June 2, deputies were called to Soggy Bottom Tavern at 1:59 a.m. and found Zadarios Arlyic McCaskill, 22, dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. The establishment was located on County Road 21 in Red Level, and has since closed. No arrests have been made.

•In the wee hours of the morning of Wednesday, June 20, deputies noticed a car had been burned at a residence on Brooklyn Road. They found the body of Bruce Nelson was found near the vehicle.

James Benton Horn was arrested in August, and charged with murder, second degree arson, and first degree criminal mischief in Nelson’s death. A Covington County grand jury indicted him earlier this month.

• On July 13, the Opp Police Department found the body of an Elba man, Louis Swinger, who had been missing for a week. Four individuals were charged in his death. They included Bomaro V. Head, Dayshawn D. Siler, Kali Jamar Siler and Kenyatta Carstarphen. Each was charged with murder and held on a $500,000 bond.

• On August 3, a 911 caller reported that J.J. Mount died near Hayslette Bridge on Oakey Streak Road after two suspects came out of the woods and shot him.

The Covington County Sheriff’s Department charged four people with murder, including Tammy A. Bush, 55; Jonathon A. Bush, 29; Joseph Vernon Armstrong, 72; and Christopher Bradley Bush, 43. Each was released on a $500,000 bond.

• In September, the Andalusia Police Department charged Jeremy Alan Beam of Andalusia, 35, of Andalusia, with murder in the death of Marvin Wayne Moose, 39, of River Falls. The incident occurred on Barton Street.

• On Dec. 17, deputies investigated the death of Linda Michelle Reynolds, 49, at her Driver Road home in Rose Hill.

A juvenile is being held in connection with her death.

• In June, the Covington County Sheriff’s Department charged Erica Dees, 30, with criminally negligent homicide in the death of her daughter, Layla Dees.

• In March, the CCSO charged Jake Alan Cox, 18, and Johnathon Steele Cox, 20, with attempted murder, robbery I, and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

They are accused of luring a couple to Falco Road where they were to purchase a camper listed on Craigslist. The man had gotten out of the truck near the wooden bridge on Falco when he was shot three times in the groin area. His vehicle also was struck three times.

The victim got back into his truck and drove away, but was later airlifted from Pleasant Home School.