(Update) Victims, suspect named in shooting, knife attack in Cullman County

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Matthew LeWayne Clayton (Cullman County Sheriff's Office)

Updated 10-22-19 at 2:51 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – Two people died and one was critically injured in a shooting and knife attack at a residence along the 8500 block of County Road 223 in the community of Prospect Mountain in Cullman County Monday evening.

Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick on Tuesday identified the two deceased victims as Thomas Frank Dewille, 76, of Owens Cross Roads and Rollan Frank Edwards, 75, of Prospect Mountain. Dewille was pronounced dead at the scene. Edwards died after being transported to UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

The third victim, Jody Jay Tudor, 48, of Prospect Mountain remains in UAB Hospital in critical condition. 

Matthew LeWayne Clayton, 30, of Prospect Mountain has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He was picked up by Alabama State Troopers and the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office Monday night on Interstate 65. He was extradited to Cullman County, where he is being held in the Cullman County Detention Center without bond.

Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry said in a press conference Tuesday that the three victims and the suspect knew each other and that at least two of them are related.

“We do know that the individuals were all known to each other,” said Gentry. “The motive, we believe, or what we’re starting to learn, was something that happened in the past. We’re still working with investigators to determine all the incidents, what we believed happened.”

Gentry took time to praise the work done by law enforcement and other first responders.

“Throughout any horrific tragedy, any horrific incident that we deal with in law enforcement,” he said, “one of the things that I noticed yesterday, and over the last 20 years in law enforcement, is how those first responders, how the men and women of the sheriff’s office and those first responders who arrive on scene run in without fear.”

The sheriff reminded the media that Cullman deputies each work 150 square miles alone.

He continued, “Those deputies and first responders arrived on scene without hesitation. When you’re talking about something like this, and they are arriving by themselves to an unknown situation, that takes courage.”

Gentry said the three victims lived together and the suspect was a neighbor. He said the three victims had lived together for many years.

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Crime scene on County Road 223 (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)
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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com