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franklin county times

State cold case unit could help solve local crime

By Staff
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Attorney General Troy King announced the formation of a "Cold Case Unit" Wednesday that will be dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of difficult unsolved criminal cases from throughout Alabama.
He said the unit will be "exclusively dedicated to helping those who have not yet seen justice done for the horrible acts that have been committed against them."
King said that civil rights era cases would be one priority for the unit, but not the only one. He said the investigators would look into crimes suggested by both local law enforcement agencies and by the public, based on a priority system, meaning local law enforcement may get some help with some of the most difficult cases to solve.
Franklin County Sheriff Larry Plott said, given the opportunity, he would welcome the help on one of the county's open cases.
"We call it the Cherry Hill Case because it happened near Cherry Hill Church," he said. "Basically, a mom and dad left home headed to town. When they passed by their son's house, they saw a suspicious car in the drive way."
Plott said no one was supposed to be home so the concerned parents pulled in the drive and got out to investigate.
"The dad walked into the house and was ambushed in the kitchen," he said. "The mother saw it and turned and ran. She was shot in the back of the head."
Plott said the Cherry Hill Case has been open for about a decade, and leads don't come in as often as they used to.
"The last time we got any information on it was probably about a year ago," he said. "We looked into it but it was a dead end."
King said he expects the program to begin operation in October. A screening committee of Cold Case Unit investigators and prosecutors will review cases submitted by local authorities to determine their appropriateness for acceptance. Factors such as the age of a case, the severity of a crime, the availability of witnesses and evidence, the existence of DNA evidence, and the susceptibility of that evidence to resolution with the use of new technology, will be used to determine which cases will be taken. Cases from the Civil Rights era will receive special emphasis.