Former Wetumpka officer set for manslaughter trial

Former Wetumpka police officer Andrew Bass is scheduled to stand trial for manslaughter in the coming week.

Bass was responding to an emergency call in October 2016 when he crashed into another car, killing 52-year-old Elaine Merritt. He wasn’t initially charged with manslaughter but was indicted in July 2017.

The fatal crash happened on Highway 231 with officials stating that Merritt was in the median waiting to merge when Bass drove down the median, colliding with her vehicle.

Attorneys spent Monday working to strike an Elmore County Jury that will determine Bass’ fate.

Bass was responding to an emergency call but court documents state he was driving 90 mph without running his emergency lights or siren.

State law requires the lights and siren during such emergencies but Alabama code is unclear what exactly constitutes an emergency. The code does, however, state that speed cannot cause harm to life or property.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.

Police: Victim identified in Garden District homicide



The Montgomery Police Department is now classifying the death investigation it opened Friday morning as a homicide and has released the name of the victim.

Investigators say 29-year-old local resident Samuel Jones was found shot to death in the 1500 block of South Hull Street, located in the Garden District, around 6:15 Friday morning.

A WSFA 12 News photojournalist on the scene confirmed the body was found in the front yard of a house near Earl Place and South Hull.

Investigators said the circumstances surrounding the shooting were not initially known but they determined Jones’ vehicle was missing. They found it several blocks from the scene and said “the circumstances indicated homicide.”

Neighboring residents told WSFA 12 News they heard multiple gunshots around 1:15 a.m.

“We heard the gunshots,” said Matt Stanghelle, “then heard a scream or a yell and then all was silent.”

Neither a motive nor information on a possible suspect has been determined.

Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP, Secret Witness at 625-4000 or police at 625-2831.

Jones’ death in Montgomery’s 23rd homicide of 2018.


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