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September 28, 2013

Cullman man sentenced to 99 years for murder up for parole

One of the two convicted murders in the 1997 capital murder case of a Cullman woman will have a chance at parole during a  hearing on Oct. 30.

Tracy Lynn Hanners, of Cullman, was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to 99 years with the chance of parole in connection to the March 1997 murder of 27-year-old Tammy Lynn Croft. Doyle Farr of Cullman was also convicted of capital murder in the case and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Tim Creel, lead investigator in the case and formerly with the Cullman County Sheriff’s office, recalled components to the case and matters which helped seal the guilty verdicts.

“Croft was sat on and restrained by Hanners, and Farr removed her panties and forced them down her throat causing her to asphyxiate,” Creel said. “They wrapped her body in carpet and hid it in a neighbor’s barn. The following day they removed it and put it in some brush on a county road where the body was found a few days later by people riding horses.”

Investigator Creel said he remembered each individual who was involved.

“They were all scared of Doyle Farr, and I think Tracy was intoxicated and threatened at the time of the murder,” Creel said. “I’ve put a ton in people in prison. From experience, if Tracy gets out, he will break his parole and go back to jail.”

Creel said he took the Croft case a few months after he went back to work in the investigation department.

“We don’t tend to have cold murder cases in Cullman. You try to solve those cases as quickly as you can,” Creel said. “We had very little forensic evidence where she was dumped. At another scene we were able to locate a piece of evidence that was very unique to the case. It was a blue T-shirt with white paint splatters on it which was described by witnesses, which belonged to Doyle Farr. We also pulled a partial fingerprint off of a Sundrop can that was left with the shirt and we were able to connect the body’s dump site with the neighboring location where they had a bonfire and drank, which is where we located those pieces of evidence. There were a lot of obstacles on the case.”

After a period of time passed, many witnesses came forward and they were also able to charge two others with  involvement in the murder, for hindering prosecution due to their knowledge of Croft’s body in the barn.

Hanners’ parole hearing is set for Oct. 30.

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.

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