Judge grants change of charges request in Barbour County murder case

Judge grants change of charges request in Barbour County murder case

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - There was a twist Friday in a capital murder trial being held in Russell County.

Judge Al Johnson Sr. granted the defense's motion to dismiss the robbery charge from the initial indictment of capital murder-robbery, saying there's not enough evidence a robbery occurred the night Willie Pugh was killed. Now the case will focus solely on the murder charge.

Willie Dickerson is accused of stabbing and killing then-26-year-old Willie Pugh in January 2012 in Barbour County. Pugh died from blunt forced trauma and stab wounds. His body was found days after he went missing on Sutton Diary Road in Barbour County. There was also a burned trailer mobile home that belonged to Dickerson authorities believe that property was set on fire to cover up evidence.

Late Friday afternoon, the jury heard several audio tapes of Dickerson behind bars in Houston County making to calls family members.

In the first recorded audio tape from jail, Dickerson quickly mentioned how he had cuts all over his body from being attacked by a wild animal in the woods. Dickerson telling his mother, "It would have killed me, if I wouldn't had my pocket knife. I stabbed him about 200 times before I killed him."

Dickerson went on to describe that is where the bloody sock came from that was found in his bedroom of the mobile home trailer. DNA evidence revealed by Taren Bostick of the Alabama Department of Forensic Science in Montgomery said the blood DNA did match that of Willie Dickerson.

More recorded audio heard Dickerson's mom saying how a huge law enforcement presence was at his mobile home.

Dickerson said "This would have never happened if you did not give them permission to go inside." Dickerson goes on to say that investigators were trying to get him to confess to a crime he did not commit and he was falsely accused. He instructs his mother to remove all his clothing from the home because "they threaten to burn down the house" and told her to get insurance on the home as soon as she could.

On the second audio tape, Dickerson's mom told him the body of Willie Pugh was found in a wooded area. Dickerson said, "Uh huh," and asked to speak with another female in the home. Dickerson is heard telling the woman to listen very carefully and do as he said or he will never get out of jail. He asked her if she remembers what happened to the old house in Dawson. She replied, "yes." He said you got to do the same thing that happened to that house. He instructs her to "start in the bedroom or in the middle of the house," and even told her where to park.

Several pieces of key DNA evidence were presented during the trial on Friday.

An expert from the Alabama Department of Forensic Science testified about the DNA results of the several items in a black trash bag found in Dickerson's charred bedroom.

Several items tested for blood and DNA evidence included a bloodied bath towel and blood on the outside of a tennis shoe had blood DNA belonging to Willie Pugh.

A pair of jeans, sweat pants, and a sock was found to be of Willie Dickerson contained his blood DNA.

Some of the evidence presented, the expert was unable to identify the blood or DNA of the person. She mentioned maybe it was because of the fire, which can easily destroy DNA, resulting in negative results. So can bleach and mold, she added.

The trial will continue Monday at 9 a.m. at the Russell County Courthouse in Phenix City.

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