Cullman County man’s bond revoked in manslaughter case

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Donald Wayne Trammell (Cullman Police Department)

CULLMAN – On Friday morning, Cullman County Circuit Judge Gregory Nicholas revoked the bond of Donald Wayne Trammell, 43, of Jones Chapel in the manslaughter case stemming from the shooting death of Trammell’s son in December 2017.  Trammell led police on a high-speed chase on the night of Dec. 31, 2018, leading to multiple new charges. Additionally, he faces charges of both violating a protection order and stalking his estranged wife on two separate occasions.

Timeline of events

  • On Dec. 24, 2017, shooting at his own truck which, according to Trammell, he thought was being stolen, the defendant struck and killed his son, Logan Trammell, who was driving the truck.  In Feb. 2018, Donald Trammell was indicted by a grand jury for manslaughter, case CC-2018-230, and was released on bond.
  • In Oct. 2018, Trammell’s wife filed for a protection from abuse order, claiming that Trammell had committed violent acts against her.  The request was granted, and Trammell was served with the protection order on Nov. 2.
  • On Nov. 5, Cullman Police discovered Trammell in a car across the street from his estranged wife’s place of employment, dressed in camouflage clothing, with binoculars, a pocket knife and other tools.  The time was before work hours, and police concluded that he was waiting on his wife to arrive. Trammell argued that he was meeting a friend to go view hunting land. He was arrested and charged with violation of a domestic violence protection order and second-degree stalking.
  • On Nov. 7, Assistant District Attorney John Bryant filed a motion to revoke Trammell’s bond in the manslaughter case, in response to the new charges.  A warrant was issued for Trammell’s arrest. He was located and arrested on Nov. 14. He spent 14 days in jail and was released on Nov. 28 with his bond reinstated.  Among the conditions of his release was an agreement to submit to a psychiatric evaluation. Court records do not show whether such an evaluation has taken place.
  • On Dec. 6, Trammell was found near his in-laws’ home where his wife was reportedly staying.  According to the police report, he was “lying in wait and watching the victim with binoculars.”  According to a letter sent by Trammell to the court, “I was going to stop and talk to my mother and father in law.  I pulled off the side of (***) at the end of their road to make sure my wife was not there!”  Later in the letter, he insisted, “I have never nor will I ever have any bad intentions or plans to harm or threaten her in any way.”
  • On Dec. 7, ADA Jeremy Cline filed a new motion to revoke Trammell’s bond, claiming, “The criminal actions of the Defendant constitute a violation of the terms and conditions of the Defendant’s bond in these cases,” that “The Defendant is a flight risk, as shown by his evasion of law enforcement prior to his arrest on the State’s previous motion to revoke the Defendant’s bond that was filed on November 7, 2018,” and that “The Defendant is a threat to community safety.”  The motion was granted the same day by Cullman County District Judge Wells “Rusty” Turner.
  • On Dec. 14, Turner issued an order for an alias warrant (warrant for suspects who fail to appear in court or respond to court orders) for Trammell.
  • On Dec. 31, Trammell led three Cullman police officers on a high-speed chase along a route that included U.S. Highway 278, Interstate 65, Alabama Highway 157 and St. Joseph Drive and ended near the Cullman Housing Authority at the intersection of First Street Southwest and 13th Avenue Southwest. Trammell was arrested and charged with attempting to elude, reckless endangerment, second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana and multiple traffic violations.

At Friday morning’s hearing, Judge Nicholas heard from Sgt. Cole Kelley, Investigator Justin Craft and Sgt. Chris Thomason, the three Cullman Police officers who pursued and apprehended Trammell on Dec. 31; he was also shown Kelley’s bodycam footage from the incident.  All three officers agreed that speeds during the chase were often between 80 and 100 miles per hour. A search of Trammell’s truck yielded a small bottle containing marijuana under the driver’s seat.

After the officers’ testimony, ADA Bryant introduced a copy of the protection from abuse order, along with the previous charges against Trammell.  Defense attorneys Johnny Berry and Brandon Little did not present witnesses but argued for dismissal on the grounds that Trammell had not been properly informed of an amended list of charges and, therefore, had been denied due process.  Judge Nicholas offered the defense team a continuation of the case, to give them more time to respond to the amended charges, but it declined. With that, the judge revoked Trammell’s bond, noting that his alleged behavior appeared to constitute a threat to himself and others.

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