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Andrew Lackey, right, with Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce at the Athens City Jail on Saturday.
DAILY Photo by John Godbey
Andrew Lackey, right, with Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce at the Athens City Jail on Saturday.

Suspect charged in Athens killing

By Holly Hollman
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2445

ATHENS — A 22-year-old with no criminal history was polite and friendly, police said, while they took him from hospital to jail Saturday, charged with capital murder in the slaying of an Athens man.

Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce and Lt. Floyd Johnson met Andrew Reid Lackey at Huntsville Hospital after doctors released him from treatment for a gunshot wound to his left chest.

They brought Lackey to Athens to charge him in the Halloween shooting and stabbing death of Charlie Newman, 80, of 611 North Hine St.

Police believe Newman shot Lackey during a robbery at Newman's home, Bruce said.

Bruce said the investigation continues into what made Lackey go from a man making his living selling items on eBay to an alleged robber and killer.

Bruce said Lackey lived alone at his Huntsville home at 3025 Sunlake Boulevard in Apartment 2110. Lackey's brother sometimes stayed with him, Bruce said. Bruce did not know whether Lackey was attending or had attended college.

"He's been polite," Bruce said, adding that the suspect made small talk during the ride to Athens.

"He was friendly. We carried on a normal conversation. We asked whether he liked football and things like that. Nothing about the case. He has given us no problems."

Police have not been able to question Lackey about the case because he asked for an attorney.

Bruce said police recovered two handguns, a bloody knife and property belonging to Newman from Lackey's rental car, a 2006 white Nissan. Lackey rented the car the day of the killing.

Police also confiscated Lackey's personal car, which Lackey left at Enterprise car rental in Huntsville, Bruce said.

Bruce would not give details about the property that investigators recovered. The weapons are at a forensic lab.

Lackey has known Newman's son and grandson since he started school in the fourth grade with the grandson, Bruce said. Lackey has been to Newman's son's Harvest home. He graduated from Sparkman High, where the grandson also went to school.

"We don't know if (Lackey) ever met Mr. Newman," Bruce said.

Newman was estranged from his family, the captain said.

Bruce said the family had mentioned around Lackey that Newman was "well off." Police are trying to determine whether Lackey had ever been at Newman's home prior to the killing.

Neighbors and Newman's pastor at Berea Baptist Church, Patrick Lawrence, said Newman would not let strangers into his home. Lawrence said that Newman would look out his window before opening his door, and that Newman would not give candy to trick-or-treaters.

According to Bruce and Chief Wayne Harper, Newman called 911 at 7:35 p.m. on Halloween.

Newman never talked to the operator. The phone remained off the hook. Bruce said there are sounds of a confrontation on the tape, and that Newman referred to someone as "son" and said something like "You don't have to do this." Police have not heard any gunshots on the tape.

Patrol officers arrived five minutes after the call and found Newman dead in his den with one gunshot wound to the chest area and multiple stab wounds. Bruce said Newman and Lackey fought in the den.

While investigators were on the scene, police received a call about Lackey being at the hospital. Bruce said he allegedly drove the rental car from Newman's to a Madison convenience store, where he called for an ambulance.

Bruce said it is unknown whether Lackey parked in the driveway or on the street at Newman's house. Anyone who saw a white 2006 Nissan in the North Hine Street area on Halloween night can call police at 233-8700.

Police were to transfer Lackey to the Limestone County Jail later Saturday. Bruce said he will have a bond hearing within 72 hours, possibly Monday. Typically, those charged with capital murder do not receive a bond, he said.

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