Not guilty plea entered in Hawkins' brutal death

By James Phillips, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 4/21/17

A 22-year-old Walker County man who has been called the triggerman in the February 2016 death of a Dora teenager was in court Thursday morning for an arraignment hearing.

Joshua Adam Reese entered a plea of not guilty …

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Not guilty plea entered in Hawkins' brutal death

Posted

A 22-year-old Walker County man who has been called the triggerman in the February 2016 death of a Dora teenager was in court Thursday morning for an arraignment hearing.

Joshua Adam Reese entered a plea of not guilty and/or not guilty by mental disease or defect in front of Walker County Circuit Judge Hoyt Elliott. Reese is currently being held in the Walker County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond.

“My client pleaded not guilty or not guilty by mental disease, because that leaves the door open for more possible defenses for him,” Jasper attorney Justin Forrester said. “We want to be able to pursue any defense that might be available to my client.”

A scheduling conference for the case was set by Elliott for July 6. No timetable is available for when the case might go to trial.

“While he was indicted on this crime, that is merely a charging instrument,” Forrester said. “His presumption of innocence is just as strong as it has ever been.”

Reese, along with four other people, were indicted by a Walker County grand jury last month in connection with the slaying of 19-year-old Nicholas Hawkins.

Danny Lee Jarvis Jr. and Cory Daniel Conner were indicted for murder, while Tessa Wise and Reese’s mother, Lawanda Reese, were indicted on charges of hindering prosecution.

Lawanda Reese was also in court for arraignment Thursday, entering a plea of not guilty as well. Arraignment dates for the other defendants in the slaying were not immediately available.

Days after Hawkins was reported missing by his family, his body was found in a wooded area on the side of River Road on Feb. 16, 2016. Gunshot wounds and blunt force trauma to the head was ruled as the causes of death by the state medical examiner.

Jarvis and Conner remain in jail on $250,000 cash bonds, while Wise was released on a $15,000 bond and Lawanda Reese was released on a $100,000 bond.

Three from Jasper sentenced in drug case

BIRMINGHAM A federal judge this week sentenced seven people from Jefferson, Walker, Marion and Franklin counties for conspiring to traffic methamphetamine across northwest Alabama

The announcement was made Thursday by Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton.

U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor on Monday sentenced Gladys Ivette Rodriguez-Valle, 34, of Pinson, to nine years in prison. Rodriguez-Valle pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in December, acknowledging she led the operation by sending couriers to Atlanta to buy multiple kilograms of methamphetamine between January 2015 and June 2016 for her and her co-defendants to distribute.

Also on Monday, Judge Proctor sentenced Jeffrey Douglas Dunaway, 29, of Bear Creek, and Gregory Keith King, 35, of Hodges, for their roles in the conspiracy. King received nine years and nine months in prison and Dunaway received eight years and nine months in prison.

On Thursday, Proctor sentenced co-defendants Allen M. Morgan, 35, Connie Hallmark Batchelor, 44, and Evan Andrew Norris, 39, all of Jasper, and Kevin Wayne Blackburn, 44, of Russellville.

The judge sentenced Morgan to five years and three months in prison, Batchelor to eight years and four months, Norris to 14 years, and Blackburn to six years and eight months.

The remaining defendant in the case, Bruce Alan Roberts, 37, of Pinson, is scheduled for sentencing July 18 in the methamphetamine distribution conspiracy and in an unrelated wire fraud conspiracy that he pleaded guilty to in March.