Police, suspect await state’s autopsy report

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 21, 2004

UNIONTOWN – A Uniontown man remains in the Perry County Jail pending the outcome of an autopsy report.

Norman Woods, 55, of Uniontown, is being held in the county jail by Uniontown police on a receiving stolen property charge, but Police Chief Donald Rhodes said additional charges could come in connection with the death of Sarah Custard Whitherspoon, 52, near Nite Cats Convenience Store July 9.

“We are waiting on ABI to get back in touch with us,” Rhodes said.

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The state’s Department of Forensic Sciences is conducting an autopsy on the body, and Rhodes said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation now has lead jurisdiction in the matter.

The receiving stolen property charge stems from a ring belonging to Whitherspoon that Woods had in his possession, Rhodes said.

“Other charges could come pending the results of the autopsy,” he said.

Mayor Phillip White said the city’s action to curb criminal behavior was having an impact.

“The streets are not a loud as before the double,” he said. “But things usually settle down after the Fourth of July.”

The bodies of Kenneth Dixie and Lawrence Alvin Smith were discovered in a soybean field June 19 along the same road Whitherspoon’s body was discovered. Charlie Bennett of Uniontown was arrested and charged in those killings.

“Go to any community and there’s always a place that’s the gathering place,” White said, referring to Uniontown’s “parking lot” along U.S. Highway 80. “Our happened to be on the main thoroughfare and that the first taste of Uniontown some people get.”

The city closed the parking lot just three or four days before the double murder in an effort to settle down rowdy behavior.

A crack down on drug activity by the Fourth Judicial Circuit’s Drug Task Force has also helped curb criminal activity.

“We have an influx of small-time dealers, but they’re more of a nuisance than anything else,” White said. “The DTF has had a few pick ups in the area and that’s filtered down, too.”