Co-workers remember slain Butler Co. correctional officer

GEORGIANA, AL (WSFA) - "No, can't be. I just couldn't believe it," says Butler County Correctional Officer, Sally Schofield.

To employees at the Butler County jail, 76-year old Willie Hall's long life was cut too short.

"Very big hole...because he was a warrior," adds Sharon Smith, Deputy Administrator at the jail.

"I just talked to him the other day. And he was in good spirits and we were joking around with each other," adds Schofield.

She worked side by side with Hall--both as correctional officers. She and others called him 'Pop.'

"I'm gonna miss him. He's a good man, a good man," she adds.

"Just like a family member.  He's been here forever and somebody we all could look up to," adds another employee, Mary.

That's why it's difficult for them to understand why someone would shoot him.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden says 61-year old Fred Walton of Georgiana shot Hall in the head at a house on Rocky Lane, just outside the city.  Authorities say Walton also beat a 55-year old woman in the head--who they believe used to be his girlfriend.

Officials later found Walton dead outside his house--the victim of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

For employees, including Sheriff Harden, the shock is still settling in as the work continues and the sheriff's department investigates the murder of one of its own.

"When he'd work night shift, he'd always bring the paperwork over here in the morning.  So every morning he worked, I'd see him."

"How would Pop act?" asks Schofield, "he'd do exactly what we have to our job, take care of everybody."

Fellow officers say Hall had recently won a battle with lung cancer. They say even the jail inmates often asked him to sit down and talk with them.

Both bodies have been sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for autopsies.

The investigation is ongoing.

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