Judge sends case to grand jury in Southern Union shooting

By Web Staff – email

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) – The man accused of murdering his mother-in law in the parking lot of Southern Union Community College was in court Wednesday.

Thomas Franklin May III sat quietly in court as detective Ben Bugg with the Opelika Police Department testified in the probable cause hearing.

The detective testified May's wife was leaving class at Southern Union when she was met by her mother and daughter. As they were walking out and getting into the van, investigators say he may pulled up and started shooting at the three women and his child.

That shooting killed his mother- in-law, Brenda Watson, and injured his wife and her grandmother.

Bugg testified May's little girl was not wounded because her mother threw herself on top of the small child when the shooting started, essentially using her body as a shield against the bullets.

Meanwhile, detectives say after May's arrest, they conducted a search warrant at his Auburn home and found his backyard was littered with dozens of shell casings from a nine millimeter handgun.  Also in the backyard, they found motorcycle shields had been placed on top of weight benches and apparently used for target practice.

Detectives believe May used a nine millimeter in the shooting.

After the testimony, Judge Russell Bush decided there was enough probable cause to send the case to a Lee County grand jury.

The next grand jury meets in May.

For the time being May reminds behind bars, charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder. Bond is not allowed in a capitol murder case.

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