Police investigate slaying 80-year-old death treated as homicide

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Police are treating the death of an elderly Columbiana woman this past weekend as a homicide.

Columbiana Police Chief Michael Lann said his department discovered 80-year-old Willie Sutton at 7 a.m. Saturday morning at her residence

in the 400 block of Depot Street near Columbiana Middle School.

Lann said a concerned neighbor asked police to check on Sutton.

He said Sutton, who gave of her time to sit with other senior citizens, was apparently missed.

Lann said the death is being treated as a homicide and that his department has requested the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department to assist in the investigation.

Media reports indicate the slaying may have been connected with a botched burglary attempt.

He said the sheriff’s departmeent is going to &uot;heroic means&uot; to assist in the case.

According to Lann, Sutton was &uot;a well-respected lifelong member of the community and grandmother.&uot;

&uot;This is a terrible tragedy that a community like Columbiana never gets used to,&uot; Lann said.

Tyrell Moore, a 17-year-old neighbor to Sutton, said the woman was quiet and kept to herself, but he had seen her at church and that she loved to plant flowers.

Shelby County Coroner Doug Ballard said Sutton was pronounced dead at the scene.

He said the body was transported to a forensic lab in Tuscaloosa for an autopsy.

Chief Lann asked that residents of the area with information &045; no matter how small or insignificant they believe it to be &045; contact Columbiana Police or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Ballard, the body will be delivered to Westside Funeral Home in Calera for burial following the autopsy.

Kimberly Perkins, Sutton’s granddaughter, had no comment at this time