Mark Lyle Massey, 19, of Trussville, Richard Allen Holloway, 18, of Leeds, Duel Wayne Pope, 21, of Leeds, and Nicholas Bell, 20 of Trussville made their initial court appearance Tuesday, via video remote. The four men are charged with the murder of Robert Joseph Denton, 18, of Moody, who was shot and killed after the group of men allegedly entered a home in the Trail’s End Community.
Authorities say Denton was shot and killed by the resident of the home just before midnight Thursday.
St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell pronounced Denton dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Authorities say the suspects are charged with murder, a Class A felony, because Denton’s death occurred during the course of a burglary that all five men were involved with.
At Tuesday’s hearing in Pell City, St. Clair County District Court Judge Phillip Seay advised the four suspects, appointed each with an attorney, and set their preliminary hearing for the murder cases at 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 16.
Seay also set bond amounts for two of the four suspects. He set $250,000 bonds for Pope and Holloway.
Seay ordered that Massey and Bell remain in the St. Clair County Jail without bond.
According to officials, Bell has a pending felony theft charge from Etowah County.
“I’m not guilty of it,” Bell told Seay at Tuesday’s hearing.
Officials say Massey is on probation from a case in Jefferson County.
Seay appointed Pell City attorney Stan Brown to represent Pope, Pell City attorney Tony Hamlin to represent Bell, and Birmingham defense attorney Lance Bell to represent Holloway.
According to court documents, Michael Holderfield, 54, of 40 Pioneer Trial, Leeds, the victim, shot Denton was after he was attacked by the deceased and two other men armed with baseball bats.
According to court documents, Holderfield was asleep in his bedroom when he was awakened by the sound of breaking glass from the backdoor of his kitchen.
He was confronted by the suspects when he entered the kitchen and managed, after being assaulted, to reach a kitchen drawer where his handgun was located.
According to court documents, it appeared Holderfield sustained injuries, including a broken left hand. His right hand was injured as well.
St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said he was not sure if all suspects are to be tried together.
Minor did say it’s a case where the suspects could be tried together.
“It’s one case,” he said, adding that the courts will determine whether all defendants are tried together.