Coosa County Arrests Two in Year-Old Murder Case

A year-old Coosa County murder is over. A grand jury indicted Michael Hart and Kendrix Morris late Monday and police wasted no time taking them to jail. They now face a possible death sentence if convicted.

It's the first relief for the victims' families in the last year.

John 'Chopper' Thomas' house is almost exactly like it was 13 months ago - the last day of his life. Early in the morning on September 24th, 2004, two men broke in on Chopper and his girlfriend Letitia Porch and killed them both.

Tabitha Thomas is Porch's Niece.

"It was just a robbery that went bad. I'm assuming they didn't expect anyone to be home and then went to the site and found it to be otherwise," she said.

Relief for the family comes in the form of two arrests. The grand jury indicted 24 year old Michael Wayne Hart and Kendrix Antonio Morris yesterday. Police picked both men up quickly. The sheriff says the motive was clear.

"Mr. Thomas had a large amount of cash he kept at his residence and Mr. Hart knew that. So he was trying to obtain those monies," Sheriff Ricky Owens said.

But family members say there are background issues that make the murders even more tragic. One of the men used to date one of Chopper's daughters, and he was just about to enjoy his later years.

"He has just retired about a week or two ago before that happened," Tabitha Thomas said.

Now the family faces a long ordeal of countless court hearings and if they're convicted, and even longer wait for either man to face the death penalty.

Tabitha Thomas isn't sure she wants to see that happen, but she needs and answer to one question.

"I still want to know the motive that someone could brutally murder someone as bad as they did," she said.

Sheriff Owens is acting pretty mysteriously when it comes to telling us how the victims died - he would not say if they were shot or stabbed or beaten. Even family members don't know for sure how their loved ones died.

But the sheriff said DNA evidence will play a big role in conducting Morris' and Hart's trials. A

s for motive, the sheriff said drugs were not involved, but state records show Hart was arrested on three occasions for drug possession. Morris had no previous criminal record. Both men remain in jail on a million dollars bond each.