By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
The capital murder trial of a Chigger Ridge man and his wife will not see a trial on the August docket of the Cullman County circuit court.
William Henry Abbott, 53, and his wife, Donna Lane Abbott, 52, each face capital murder-for-hire charges stemming from the November 2010 death of a man scheduled to testify against William Henry Abbott in a rape and incest trial.
The body of the alleged murder victim, Jerry Allen Martin, was found in late November 2010 by volunteer firefighters inside a burning vehicle at Dodge City. An autopsy later revealed that Martin had been fatally shot before the vehicle was set on fire. He was 47 at the time of his death.
Martin had been named as a prosecution witness in William Henry Abbott’s scheduled rape and incest trial before Martin’s death. The Cullman district attorney’s office said Abbott’s trial on second-degree rape and two counts of incest, originally set for the August court docket, will also be continued.
The Abbott cases have been set for trial numerous times, but prosecutors have requested their postponement while they continue to cultivate evidence and await forensic results.
A grand jury handed down murder indictments last April against four members of the Abbott family in connection with Martin’s death.
Officers took William Henry Abbott into custody in Morehead City, North Carolina in December 2010 after he allegedly fled there with his son, Arnold Andrews Abbott, to escape the local charges. Arnold Andrews Abbott was also charged with hindering prosecution following the arrest. Another son, William Cecil Abbott, was arrested in Cullman days after Martin’s body was found.
The suspects continue to be held at the Cullman County detention center.
* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.