Accused Tuscaloosa cop killer appears in court

Accused Tuscaloosa cop killer appears in court
Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's deputies escort Luther Watkins to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After listening to two testimonies during a probable cause hearing for Luther Watkins, charged with capital murder in the death of Tuscaloosa Police officer Dornell Cousette, Tuscaloosa County District Judge Jim Gentry decided there was enough probable cause to move the case forward and keep Watkins in jail without bond.

Lonnie Boshell, an investigator with the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, and Ed Giles, a bail bondsman who took Cousette to the home where they found Watkins and Cousette was later shot, both took the stand on Friday.

Giles testified that he and Cousette found Watkins on the porch of a home in the 1700 block of 33rd Avenue. Cousette called Watkins by name and followed him when he ran inside the home. Giles says he stayed outside and heard at least three gunshots.

Officer Cousette was shot once. He was rushed to DCH Regional Medical Center where doctors pronounced him dead.

Boshell says other witnesses put Watkins at the scene where officer Cousette was shot and two women admitted driving Watkins to Northport DCH after he’d been shot twice.

Security cameras at the hospital showed Watkins dumping what later turned out to be 9 millimeter bullets out in the hospital parking lot.

According to Boshell, investigators also recovered a handgun with blood on it inside a toolbox near the home where Officer Cousette was shot

“We’re just at the starting point of the investigation. We’ll continue to investigate the case, try to make sure that Mr. Watkins is zealously represented, while also being mindful of the loss to this community with Officer Cousette,” said Jim Standridge, the attorney appointed by the court to represent Watkins.

Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb declined to comment. Watkins will remain in the Tuscaloosa County Jail. A grand jury will also hear testimony and see evidence in the case while Watkins remains in custody.

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