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Murder suspect caught
Opelika police arrest man sought in fatal Athens shooting; had been at large for week

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — An Athens murder suspect who has been on the run for a week is in custody in South Alabama after being picked up on drug charges, an investigator said.

The investigator, Athens police Lt. Floyd Johnson, said Opelika police arrested Jarvis Werner Hines, 20, for some type of drug charges. Johnson said Opelika contacted Athens on Thursday evening, and he did not have many details about those charges. He did not know if Hines was allegedly using, selling or buying the drugs.

Hines is a suspect in the Dec. 14 shooting death of Donnell McCullough, 64, of Athens. Hines allegedly shot McCullough four times at McCullough's Houston Court Apartments home, Johnson said.

Athens police have a warrant for Hines for capital murder.

To charge a suspect with capital murder, he must have committed the murder during the commission of another crime such as burglary, robbery or kidnapping. Johnson said police aren't releasing the motive or reason for the capital murder charge until investigators can talk to Hines.

Capt. Marty Bruce has said McCullough's neighbor told investigators he was at McCullough's apartment when McCullough and Hines got into a discussion. Police aren't releasing details about that discussion, Johnson said.

The neighbor became afraid, Bruce said, and went into a bathroom and later heard gunshots and called 911.

Johnson will pick up Hines today and bring him to Athens.

"He was using an alias name, but officers recognized him from a flier we had sent to authorities in that area," Johnson said. "He had friends down there from the college (Auburn University), and we thought he might go there."

Johnson said when Opelika officers ran Hines' fingerprints and contacted the FBI, they got confirmation that he was the suspect Athens police wanted.

Prior to Thursday's call, police had searched in Decatur for Hines. Police found a Dodge Caravan that Hines allegedly drove after the shooting abandoned at his stepmother's home in Decatur.

On Tuesday, Decatur police placed Leon Sheffield and Benjamin Davis elementary schools on modified lockdown after law enforcement received a lead that Hines might be in the Lafayette Street area.

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