Two unrelated murders in Hale County

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

A pair of unrelated murders, one in Greensboro and one in Moundville, have rocked Hale County. While an arrest has been made in the Greensboro case, the other continues to remain unresolved at this time.

Joseph A. Renney, 27, originally of California, was charged April 26 with the murder of his wife, Anita Ann-Hutto of Greensboro. He is currently held in Hale County Jail with no possibility of bond.

Renney was already being held when charged with the murder. According to Greensboro Police Department reports, he had been arrested on charges of first-degree Domestic Assault and Sodomy on March 24 after brutally assaulting Hutto on March 18.

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Hutto was taken and admitted to Tuscaloosa’s DCH Regional Hospital for treatment, but died from her injuries April 25, one day shy of her 38th birthday.

According to Greensboro Chief of Police Claude Hamilton, the incident occurred at Renney and Hutto’s residence at 2475 Fairground St. in Greensboro. Renney “used a hoe handle,” Hamilton said, to assault and sodomize his wife. Hutto suffered severe “internal injuries” in the attack, Hamilton said, from which she would not be able to recover.

Hamilton said he would be surprised if there was any difficulty in obtaining a conviction.

“No problem at all,” he said, noting that before her death Hutto had been able to offer investigators an account of the incident.

“She told us about it,” he said. “It’s just terrible.”

If convicted of the murder charge, Renney could face the death penalty.

The future of the open murder case in Moundville is much more murky. What is known is that Carlis Pursifull, 62, of Moundville was found dead in his mobile home last Monday, May 2, with injuries to his head.

After a preliminary determination was made that foul play had been involved in Pursifull’s death, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation was brought in to handle the investigation.

Moundville Chief of Police Ken Ellis said Friday that no arrests had yet been made in the case, and that there was no timetable for when an arrest might be forthcoming.

“Not yet,” Ellis said. “They’re still working on it.”

Pursifull was first discovered unconscious by a juvenile who had recently moved into Pursifull’s trailer, where Pursifull usually lives alone. His sister-in-law was quoted as saying, however, that Pursifull’s family did not necessarily consider him a suspect in case.