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January 18, 2013

Arab man charged with murder in death of Cullman woman (UPDATED)

CULLMAN — An Arab man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of an elderly Cullman woman.

Emmett Leroy Davis, already facing an assault charge following an alleged Dec. 3 attack from which 87 year-old Helen Mayo never recovered, was charged with murder Wednesday.

Davis has been held in the Cullman County detention center ever since his arrest in Arab on Dec. 4 for first-degree assault. With Wednesday’s murder charge, he is being held on a $75,000 cash bond.

Police believe Mayo and other nearby residents were familiar with Davis, having previously hired him to do a variety of maintenance chores around their homes. They also believe the attack on Mayo wasn’t random; that the alleged suspect had targeted her home from an undisclosed motive.

Mayo, who lived alone at a home near Cullman High School, sustained severe facial injuries in the assault. She died Jan. 6 at UAB Hospital. A preliminary autopsy found she had died of complications related to injuries she suffered in the attack.

Assistant Cullman police chief Craig Green said Friday that investigators both with the city police department and the district attorney’s office had time on their side in preparing an murder arrest warrant against Davis, since the suspect was already in jail.

“He [Davis] was never free; from the time he was arrested in December he’d never been released on bond,” said Green. “It took several days following the autopsy finding for us to finish up the case, because it appeared, then, that it was going to change from an assault case to murder. The facts of the case remain the same regardless of the charge — but the outcome changed when the victim passed away. The district attorney’s office needed to review everything we gave them, and of course they then had to prepare a warrant for his arrest for murder. With the suspect already in jail, we were fortunate to have the time to do this right.”

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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