(WRBL) – DADEVILLE, Ala. During the Aniah’s Law bond hearing for three of the six defendants charged in the fatal mass shooting of four individuals at a Dadeville Sweet 16 party on Tuesday, shocking new details emerged.
During the lead agent’s testimony, we heard that witnesses told investigators the firing sounded like machine guns, and that agents found 89 round casings from the gory scene. Investigators suspect seven handguns, including one that had been unlawfully modified, discharged shots when gunfire erupted at 10:30 p.m. on April 15 during Alexis Dowdell’s 16th birthday party. Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell, Alexis’ 18-year-old brother, was killed, as were Marsiah Collins, 19; Shaunkivia “Keke” Smith, 17; and Corbin Holston, 23. throughout the hearing on Tuesday, an investigator said that Holston was wearing a black ski mask and was seen by witnesses firing throughout the incident. Following the incident, a gun was discovered on Holston’s chest.
Willie Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn, Johnny Brown, 20, of Tuskegee, Wilson Hill Jr., 20, of Auburn, Ty Reik McCullough, 17, of Tuskegee, and his brother Travis McCullough, 16, of Tuskegee were arrested and listed as suspects. Prosecutors have charged each of them as adults with four counts of reckless murder. A sixth suspect, a 15-year-old Tuskegee boy who has not been identified, was also apprehended. According to investigators, the co-defendants all know one other and some are related.
Aniah’s Law allows judges to refuse bonds to defendants charged with violent offenses. Although cameras were not permitted in the courtroom, journalists were permitted to take notes with pen and paper during the hearings for Hill, Willie Brown, and Johnny Brown. We were not permitted to attend McCullough brothers hearings. As prosecutors argued that the defendants should remain in custody for the safety of the community and themselves, the judge indicated he will publish his decisions within 24 hours. Three defense counsel argued that because none of their clients have a criminal record, they should be released on bond until trial.
District Attorney Mike Segrest asked the case’s main agent, SBI Major Crimes Special Agent Jess Thornton, to testify first. Thornton said that when he got at the downtown Dadeville dancing studio following the incident, there found four dead people on the floor, as well as hundreds of shot casings and blood. Investigators think there were 50 to 60 people inside the dance studio at the time of the incident, which measured around 38 by 26 feet.
Investigators found 89 shot casings and suspect seven handguns were discharged. According to investigators, at least one of the handguns had been illegally modified to shoot rapidly like an automatic. According to Thornton, witnesses told authorities that the firing sounded like machine guns.