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Goree's mother planning funeral
Service for slain man may be held Tuesday

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

SOMERVILLE — More than six years after his death, Ronnie Lee Goree will finally have a funeral.

Goree's caregivers killed him in March 2001 and left his remains to decompose in a cave near his Cain Road mobile home, said Morgan County sheriff's investigators.

The women later returned to the cave, crushed the bones with a sledgehammer and dumped them in a creek, investigators said. A few bones remained buried in the cave, and investigators unearthed them in April 2005.

DNA results recently confirmed the awful suspicion for Eva Goree that her only son was dead.

Ready to lay him to rest

Goree said that with her son's accused murderers now in jail, it's time to lay him to rest, even if the casket is empty.

She's going today to make arrangements for the service, which she expects to be Tuesday at Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle.

"It still hurts, and I'm always going to hurt over this," Goree said. "But I'm glad that he's going to get his peace and his rest. It might make it easier for me, knowing that he's got his rest. I loved him."

At 49, Goree suffers from cancer, diabetes and various other health problems.

"One day I know I'll join him in heaven," she said. "I hope and pray that I can be with him soon."

One loose end remains — seeing her only son's killers punished.

"I hope they get it hard, because they deserve to get it," Goree said. "That was my kid. I don't want no mercy for them."

Thursday, investigators arrested Geneva Lenox Denson, 43, and Martha Evelyn Routh, 44, charging each with murder. A judge set their bonds Friday at $200,000 each.

Ronnie Goree suffered from acute seizures and a mental defect.

Denson, a relative, was on his Social security check as his caregiver and continued receiving and cashing his checks — about $20,000 total — in the three years after his death, said Sheriff Greg Bartlett.

Routh lived next door to Denson and shared a mobile home with Goree.

Bartlett said the women apparently strangled Goree after he became extremely ill at the age of 29.

Eva Goree said Denson, originally reported to be Ronnie Goree's aunt, is actually his cousin, the daughter of her sister.

The betrayal caused her to cut ties, she said.

"I don't care nothing about them," she said. "Anybody that does anything like that can't be kin to me."

Goree said her son was a friendly guy who never hurt anyone.

He loved hanging out with friends, working on small engines, playing with children and splashing around in swimming pools, even though he couldn't swim.

"He'd give his shirt to you," she said. "He'd do anything in the world for anybody that he could do. He always loved to see his friends come up. He'd clap his hands and laugh about it."

Eva Goree thanked investigators for their patience with the case and thanked those who came forward with information.

"I hurt for a long time, and I've been waiting for this here move to be made," she said of Thursday's arrests. "I appreciate everybody coming in and helping to where I can get him in peace."

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