1 of 4 suspects in 1994 Covington Co. murder dies in jail - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

1 of 4 suspects in 1994 Covington Co. murder dies in jail

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Sheila Clark Brooks (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office) Sheila Clark Brooks (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office)
Eugene Wallace Black (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office) Eugene Wallace Black (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office)
Sheila Williams (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office) Sheila Williams (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office)
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COVINGTON CO., AL (WSFA) -

Authorities in Covington County say one of the four suspect arrested in December in connection to a 1994 homicide has died in jail while awaiting trial.

Sheila Ellison Brooks, 57, died over the weekend of natural causes. She was being held on a $1 million bond in the Covington County Jail, along with the three other suspects.

Brooks' death will not affect the ongoing case, according to officials.

In May 1994 James "Nibby" Barton was found dead behind the counter of his convenience store. Since then, investigators have been working to bring justice to Barton and his family.

On December 13, 2013, authorities announced indictments against Eugene Wallace Black, Sheila Clark Brooks, Sheila Williams and Sandra Ellison Lynn on murder and robbery charges. All but Lynn were placed under arrest at that time.

Lynn, was taken into custody the following weekend. In addition the murder and robbery charge, she faces an outstanding warrant for negotiating a worthless negotiable instrument. Her bond is set at just over $1 million. A photo of Lynn is not currently available.

Officials say there were possibly others involved in the murder who have since died.

In February 2013 the Cold Case Task Force reopened the case and started what they called a clean slate of investigating. Officers began to review the case and developed a theory, and while working to prove the theory wrong, they started finding more evidence to point to the suspects.

Although investigators declined to go into detail, an excavation over the summer was connected to the case.

Officials say they have physical evidence, plus eye-witnesses and partial confessions that enabled a grand jury to indict the individuals.

"Our family has waited for 19-and-a-half years for this day. We are grateful to the investigators. We will give thanks this Christmas and it will be a good Christmas for our family," said Barton's son, Jimmy.

"Justice delayed is not always justice denied," said Covington County District Attorney Walt Merrell. "Despite the length of time since Mr. Barton was murdered, an abundance of evidence surrounding this crime has been uncovered and we are confident justice will be served."

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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