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Marshall announces additional indictments for the 2015 murder of Eric Cates

On Thursday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the indictments of two Walker County men for the 2015 death of Eric Cates.

Joshua Franklin Hill, age 35, and Luke Williams, Jr., age 34, were both served with indictments for Capital Murder.

Cates and his dog, Gypsy, were both found deceased in the Empire community on March 21, 2015. Their bodies were badly burned as was the interior of the small truck where they were found.

Cates was just 32 when he and his bulldog Gypsy were killed. His mother has offered a substantial reward in this case and created a Facebook page seeking justice for her son.

In October, Hill had previously been indicted with Cyrena Cheyenne Styles, age 28. Miss Styles is also a resident of Walker County. Each were charged with one count of murder. The new indictments were served and the defendants arrested on May 15, 2024.

Cates' mother said in a statement on her Justice for Eric Cates Facebook page, "Nine years ago Today May 16th, 2015 We buried my baby boy, Eric and his precious four legged companion Gypsy. March 21st, 2015, they were brutally murdered. Some have been arrested for Capital Murder. Knowing I can shout their names to the world is a relief that I cannot describe. I know the journey has just begun but we will face it like we have the past nine years, With our determination to get Justice for Eric Cates and Gypsy. I am sharing this poem written in 2015 by a sweet lady about Eric and Gypsy to help with the pain of such a tragic loss. Please pray for Justice for Eric and Gypsy, that we have the strength to endure what lies ahead and that all those involved, those that knew what happened and remained silent come forward and tell what they know."

Attorney General Marshall's Special Prosecution Division and Criminal Trials Divisions, in partnership with the Sumiton Police Department and former agents of the Walker County Sheriff's Office, presented evidence to a Walker County grand jury. The Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair and the Walker County Sheriff's Office have assisted the Attorney General's Office in the investigation.

If convicted of Capital Murder, both Hill and Williams would face a range of punishment of life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted.

No additional information about the investigation or the defendants' alleged crimes were released.


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