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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2007
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Grand jury hears cases against 4 murder suspects

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com· 340-2445

ATHENS — A Limestone County grand jury has heard cases against four capital murder suspects.

District Attorney Kristi Valls said the grand jury heard the case against Jarvis Hines, 20, of Tanner, charged with capital murder and robbery in the December shooting death of 64-year-old Donnell McCullough of Athens.

Hines was to have his preliminary hearing Tuesday, but Valls said she pre-empted that by putting the case before a grand jury.

At a preliminary hearing, the defense can question state witnesses, and a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury. The defense also can waive the case to the grand jury without holding a hearing.

Valls said she can send a case to a grand jury without a preliminary hearing.

Athens police Lt. Floyd Johnson has said Hines allegedly shot and killed McCullough at McCullough’s Houston Court Apartments home. Police still are investigating and have not released many details other than that the two allegedly were in some type of discussion prior to the shooting.

Hines had been on the run for about a week after McCullough’s murder when Opelika authorities arrested him on drug charges and sent him back to Athens.

The grand jury also heard the cases against three suspects charged in the November bludgeoning death of 74-year-old Art Champion of Ardmore.

Jeannie Carol Green, 35, and her husband Derrick Green, 41, both of Ardmore, and Randall Allen “Bingo” Clem, 39, of Ardmore, Tenn., face charges of capital murder for robbery, capital murder for burglary, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.

Sheriff Mike Blakely has said that Jeannie Green allegedly tried to borrow money from Champion the night of the murder, but Champion refused to give her money.

He said Jeannie Green insisted that her husband and Clem take Champion’s money. Blakely said Jeannie Green went back to Champion’s home to pretend to use the phone and left the door unlocked for her husband and Clem.

Blakely said Derrick Green and Clem allegedly beat Champion multiple times in the head with a hickory stick, took his change to buy crack cocaine, and left him to die.

Valls could not release any information about whether the grand jury indicted any of the suspects because the grand jury still is in session. She said she can release that information next week.

All the suspects are in the county jail without bond set because of their capital murder charges.

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