Category Archives: Articles

CCSO Charge Three in Mountain View Rd Robbery

On November 06th, 2018, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office received a report of illegal entry on property and theft of items just off Mountain View Road north of Ashland. Sheriff’s Investigators began looking into the thefts and found evidence that the thieves would most likely be returning.

On November 15th, 2018, Investigators were alerted, via electronic devices, that thieves had returned to the property. Investigators responded and were able to take 3 persons into custody. Charged was Darrin Marcellus Leister, age 28 of Lineville, Jaylin Shamar Ellis, age 22 of Ashland and Jasmine Megan Bell, age 26 of Lineville. Leister and Ellis remain in the Clay County Detention Center on Bonds totaling $16000.00. 

Sheriff’s Office continues Investigations Burglaries/Chase resulting in shots being fired at Deputy

On November 06th, 2018, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office received a report of illegal entry on property and theft of items just off Mountain View Road north of Ashland.

Sheriff’s Investigators began looking into the thefts and found evidence that the thieves would most likely be returning.

On November 15th, 2018, Investigators were alerted, via electronic devices, that thieves had returned to the property.

Investigators responded and were able to take 3 persons into custody. That investigation continues and a more though report will be provided in the near future.

On December 6, 2018, a Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling highway 9, just north of Delta when an unidentified vehicle was observed traveling north driving from one lane to the other.

When the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop to identify the driver, the driver abruptly turned around on the highway and began traveling south. The driver was stopped at the intersection of Haynes Mountain Road were a verbal altercation directed at the deputy by the driver began.

Moments later, the driver sped off traveling down Haynes Mountain Road with the deputy in pursuit. During the pursuit the driver fired shots directed at the pursuing deputy. That chase eventually ended in Randolph County on County Road 313.

The suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Clay County Detention Center where they remain at the time of this report. That investigation is continuing with additional information provided at a later date.

Coin Toss Determines new Sheriff

We live in an era where almost anything is possible. A world made more of convenience as the days pass us by. Seems just about anything is possible. We’ve come leaps and bounds with medical technology, give voice commands to our phone to our bidding, and even drive electric cars. But even with all the technology, we can’t seem to solve our tied elections without a coin toss. 

After the November 6th election, Republican James “Jim” Studdard led the Clay County Sheriff race with 2675 votes over Democrat Henry Lambert’s 2668 votes, a difference of only 7 votes. Not many times in election history has the few provisional votes ever really made a difference, but this would be the case with 23 provisionals hanging in the balance determining the fate of our new Sheriff. 

At 12 noon today, Sheriff Ray Latham, Revenue Commissioner Ronald Robertson, Investigator Shanon House and Probate Judge Dianne Branch unsealed the 23 provisional votes and counted them before a small crowd inside the courtroom inside the Clay County Courthouse. Six of these votes were thrown out because the voter wasn’t registered to vote in Clay County.  And then, the unthinkable happened…a tie. Each candidate had 2680 votes. 

After a call to the Secretary of State and his attorney,  the standard protocol to determine a winner came down to a coin toss. Lambert offered the use of his quarter stating with a nervous joke that he had never been any good at gambling. For a second, neither of the candidates would call anything. Finally Studdard called heads. And with a flip of this historic coin by Sheriff Latham, heads it was as the coin dropped to the floor. Studdard was declared the unofficial winner.

Now, with an election this close, a recount will take place. It will begin at 9:00 am on Friday, Nov. 16 for an official winner. If, and only if, there was a runoff election between the two candidates, it would carry a price tag of approximately $50,000, but that is not even a factor in this contest. I’ll be there Friday as the recount takes place to bring you late breaking results. 

And just like that, our historic Clay County Courthouse becomes even more historic. This is the first election to ever end with a coin toss in our little county…

Our Congratulations are extended to Jim Studdard! 

Armed Robbery takes place at Ashland Dollar General

Press Release issued by Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford regarding the incident:

On November 5, 2018, the Ashland Police Department received a call from the Dollar General in Ashland, and the cashier stated that the store had been robbed at gun point.

Officer Griffin responded and made sure the scene was safe. He then notified Inv. Corey Dickinson, and Chief Joseph Stanford, and made them aware of the incident. Inv. Dickinson responded and he and Officer Griffin processed the scene. The matter is under investigation, and as more details become available they will be released to the public.

This is a great time to remind our businesses and store owners not to keep large amounts of cash on hand, or visible to would be criminals. It is the time of the year that we see a spike in these types of crimes, but we should always be vigilant in making sure that we harden our targets as much as possible. But if you are confronted with something similar, we ask that you comply with their requests and not try to be a hero. Money and objects can be replaced, but once life is gone it cannot be brought back.

We, at the Ashland Police Department, will work to prevent this from happening again, and we need your help in doing this. If you see something suspicious, please call us and we will check it out. We all love our small town, with its family appeal, and we want to keep it that way.

Challenging DNA of Human Remains ends 9-year Mystery

Clara Rogers

Remains found identified as missing Clay County Woman On July 09, 2010, Clara Vaughn Rogers, age 74, was reported missing from her home @ 4237 Cheaha Road, Munford, in the Northern most part of Clay County. Joseph Edward Rogers, husband, reported Clara Rogers missing at approximately 3pm that date. Mr. Rogers told Sheriff Alexander and Sheriff’s Investigators that he had last seen his wife around 8am that morning when he left the residence to cut grass and do yard work.

Upon returning, Mr. Rogers stated he could not locate his wife anywhere in the residence or on the property. Mr. Rogers stated all vehicles were accounted for and no one had been at the residence that day. Mr. Rogers told deputies his wife suffered from Dementia and had possibly wandered away from the house.

Sheriff’s deputies, Clay County Rescue Squad personnel and the Alabama Department of Public Safety Rotor Wing Search & Rescue personnel were dispatched to the mountainous wooded area around the Rogers Residence attempting to locate Mrs. Rogers. In all, personnel searched the wooded and mountainous area for approximately 3 days in an attempt to locate the missing woman. Those searches proved unsuccessful.

In June of 2011, Sheriff Latham organized a search effort with Cadaver K-9 and law enforcement personnel around the Roger’s residence. Later in 2011 and thru the spring of 2013, several efforts were made by Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies aided by members of the Talladega Sheriff’s Office, Lineville Police Department and Ashland Police Department in the search of Salt Creek and surrounding area of the Rogers home.

On June 1st 2013, a group of hikers were hiking Salt Creek Falls and found what appeared to be parts of human remains in Salt Creek just north of the falls in Clay County. Those remains were received by Sheriff’s Investigators and transported to the States Forensics Lab in Montgomery. Results to positively identify the identity was challenging.

Clay County Sheriff’s Investigators retrieved DNA samples from a Rogers family member in an effort for a more precise match. Those remains and the DNA samples were then transfered to the FBI Lab Quantico, Va.

A report to Clay County Sheriff’s Office from the FBI Lab dated September 27, 2018 confirmed that the remains found on June 1st, 2013 were the remains of the missing Clay County woman, Clara Vaugh Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rogers family as they are able to have closure in their time of sorrow, states Sheriff Latham.

Grand Jury Indictments- Sept. 27, 2018

Michael William Baird – SORNA Violation

Angel Nicole Baker – Possession Controlled Substance, Use/ Possession Drug Paraphernalia 

Jennifer Rene Ballard – Theft of property 1st, Theft of Property 2nd, Burglary 3rd degree, Computer Tampering, Identity Theft, Theft of Property 3rd (2 counts)

Christopher Basham – Domestic Violence 3rd-harassment (2 counts), Assault 2nd degree, Resisting arrest, Interfering w/ Domestic Violence Emergency 

Continue reading Grand Jury Indictments- Sept. 27, 2018

Sept. 27 Clay County BOE Highlights

The Clay County Board of Education met Thursday, September 27, 2018 for the monthly session, during which the following agenda items were approved:

  • September 6, 2018 meeting minutes
  • All Financial and cash balances for August 2018
  • The selection of Shane Davidson as delegate and Bruce Sims as alternate to represent the CCBOE during the Delegate Assembly AASB’s annual business meeting.
  • Approval of the resolution to establish a credit line for borrowing the sum of $1,999,000.00 from First State Bank of Clay County at a rate not exceeding 6% per annum. These funds will be repaid no later that September 30, 2019 and will be used to pay employees before Christmas holidays if and when needed.
Continue reading Sept. 27 Clay County BOE Highlights

Town Hall Meeting to be held on Courthouse Amendment

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, a community forum/town hall meeting will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Clay County Farmer’s Market to discuss the amendment that will be on the November 5th ballot. 

This amendment states to vote yes or no to holding state court in the courthouse for as long as it is habitable.

The amendment has been the subject of much controversy due to lack of knowledge on this matter. Hopefully, this meeting will shed some light for the citizens so they can vote with knowledge.

The meeting will be conducted by a guest moderator and security will be provided. All citizens are encouraged to attend. 

Body found at High Falls Trail Head

UPDATE- This death has been confirmed to be a suicide of a middle-aged female. No names will be listed. Please say a prayer for this family.

September 10, 2018- Some type of death has occurred late this afternoon at the High Falls trailhead in the Lineville/Clairmont Springs area. Details are unknown at this time, but it is believed to not be a homicide. Investigators still on the scene. This is a developing story. Details to follow as they become available.

Family Still Seeking Answers in Brother’s Murder

Today is a symbolic, yet very sad day for Ruby Crawford Fuller. Her younger brother, Doug Crawford would have celebrated his 61st birthday today if his life had not been cut short seven years ago. Doug was 54 years old when he was murdered in a violent manner.

On Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, Clay County dispatchers received a call in the early morning of a fire at a mobile home off Mack Crawford Road in Ashland. The homeowner was having work done on the front porch, and workers arrived that morning to find a fire. When the workers looked through the window, they said they saw someone inside, who appeared unresponsive.

Once authorities arrived and the fire was extinguished, the body of 54-year-old James Douglas Crawford, was found in the living room. It was soon discovered in addition to being burned, Doug also had a bullet wound, most likely occurring before the fire started. It is unknown what the actual cause of death was, whether it was the bullet wound, the smoke inhalation, or a combination of both, but his murder has never been solved.

Doug Crawford

Ruby and siblings have done everything in their power to find the person(s) responsible for their brother’s murder over the course of the past seven years. They have kept in close contact with the authorities throughout the years as to how the investigation has been going. Ruby can tell you every piece of information released to them involving the case.

Sheriff Latham reported that this was still a very active case, and as in any case, as time passes, investigative matters become a more difficult task. But nonetheless, Sheriff Ray Latham still presses on trying to solve Doug’s murder and give this family closure.

Through the combined efforts of the Crawford family, the state of Alabama, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, a substantial reward of $25,000 is still being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Doug’s death. The Crawford family is hopeful that this reward will help keep the case from going too cold.

The lack of closure has been very hard for Ruby. Doug was part of a family of seven children, and now there are only four of them are left. Ruby stated that she and Doug used to be very close,” He drove all the way across the United States to give me away at my wedding, but time had separated us”, says Ruby, “I think about him every single day.”

The Crawford family tries not to get discouraged about the length of time that has passed with no answers. “It was hard enough having to bury our mother without her being able to know who was responsible. We know whoever did this will eventually have to pay for it, whether it be in this world or not, but we wanted to see them pay for it while still here on Earth.”

If anyone has any information on this crime, please contact the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, 256-354-2176. You can also visit their website, and submit an anonymous tip.