Suspects indicted for 2015 home invasion, shooting of elderly Eclectic woman

Suspects indicted for 2015 home invasion, shooting of elderly Eclectic woman

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - Two suspects connected to a home invasion and the shooting of an elderly Eclectic woman in 2015 have been indicted on multiple felony counts

An Elmore County grand jury indicted Pedro Bennett and Dexter McDuffie on Monday.

Court records indicate Bennett was indicted on three counts including first degree burglary, first degree robbery and first degree assault.

McDuffie was indicted on four felony counts including attempted murder, first degree burglary, first degree robbery and first degree assault.

Court records show Bennett has an extensive criminal record with four felony convictions and 13 arrests since 2010.

"There's no question, I think they intentionally came across the river into Elmore County to commit a crime, based on the fact that they believed our law enforcement had less coverage," District Attorney Randall Houston said. "The message we are going to send is if you choose to come across the river into Elmore County, and we catch you – you aren't in Montgomery anymore. You are in Elmore County and we are going to put you away."

Both were out on bond when the shots were fired. Houston said his office is prepared to fight to raise their bonds if they commit any criminal acts prior to trial.

"Sentencing reform is helping with prison overcrowding, but it's creating a situation where more crimes are being committed, but we can't put them in prison," Houston said. "It wouldn't surprise me if they committed another crime. We'll be ready to deal with it."

Bennett is currently out on a $100,000 bond while McDuffie is in jail on a $450,000 bond.

"He is a danger to society," Houston noted after McDuffie's arrest, adding that McDuffie attempted to change his appearance during the manhunt.

"This guy is a career criminal, he's been creating thefts and burglaries all over the state, and now he's shot somebody, an elderly woman that is no threat at all to him," Houston added.

McDuffie has remained in the Elmore County Detention facility following his arrest last November.

The 78-year-old victim was shot twice while coming in the back door of her home. Houston says she's still recovering.

"This is a trauma she is going to live with for the rest of her life," the district attorney said. "She's doing better, but you have to hedge that against the fact that she went through a tremendous amount of trauma, and the way she looks at life is much different than she did before."

Bennett's attorney released this statement Tuesday:

Mr. Bennett has been indicted by the Elmore County Grand Jury for Burglary in the First Degree, Robbery First Degree and Assault First Degree. Mr. Bennett has entered a plea of not guilty to this indictment and looks forward to telling his side of the story in a court of law. The colorful description and characterization of Mr. Bennett as a career criminal by the prosecution is unjust and inappropriate at this stage of the criminal process. Mr. Bennett was on bond at the time of the offense in Elmore County, for an arrest in Lowndes County, but eighteen Lowndes County Grand Jurors determined there was no probable cause to proceed with the charges against him and those charges have been subsequently dismissed. Mr. Bennett looks forward to his day in court and having the truth disclosed with regard to his alleged involvement in this offense.

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