ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - It appears to be a case of a murder and an effort to hide the body, but authorities are certain it started far from where it ended in a field with smoldering hay bales. Montgomery police say 31-year-old John Dubose of Hayneville was shot to death in the 2100 block of Capitol Avenue in Montgomery. His body was then dumped in the Redland area of Elmore County.
Neighbor Kenny Jones still can't believe it. "We didn't know what all was going on," said Jones.
Police say they've arrested 32-year old Christopher Cearley on a capital murder charge in connection to Dubose's death. The alleged shooting happened in Cearley's home and WSFA 12 News has learned Dubose was shot more than once.
"The investigation is still on-going, but it looks like it's going to be drug related," said Major William Simmons with MPD. "At this point this looks like it was between the two men. We haven't identified anything that would lead us to believe it was part of any larger group."
Detectives believe Cearley took Dubose's body to the hay field 30 minutes away off Dozier Road in Elmore County where he set it on fire. A passing motorist saw the smoke and called 911.
When firefighters arrived they just assumed they were going to battle a mid-sized grass fire, but quickly discovered the remains of a burning body. The fire had been burning long enough to ignite nearby hay bales.
"Obviously his intent was to destroy the body," said Simmons.
Back on Capitol Avenue, Kenny Jones says he never knew his neighbor, Christopher Cearley, and never knew anything was amiss until police arrived at the house Wednesday night. Cearley did not put up any resistance while being arrested, and no one will say if he has confessed.
Major Simmons said several people witnessed the shooting and police are in the process of tracking them down. He added they haven't ruled out additional arrests in the case.
Cearley is being held at the Montgomery County Detention Facility without bond.