Unit will bring justice to unsolved cases

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

&8220;Crime takes but a moment, but justice an eternity&8221;


Perhaps the only greater injustice than being a victim of crime is to have the perpetrator of that crime go unpunished.

It happens more than we would like to think, a crime is committed and the guilty party walks the streets free.

We live in a society of TV crime dramas that are almost always solved within the hour; but unfortunately, the real world does not often work that way.

So what sort of unsolved cases exist in Shelby County? Perhaps some of these crimes might conger up memories for you:

-Willie Earl Bedford of Columbiana was murdered in December 2001 on Horton Farm Road just in front of his home; a single gunshot to the head took Mr. Bedford&8217;s life. The perpetrator(s) of this crime remain free.

-An arsonist(s) set fire to Klub 280 off Alabama 119 near U.S. 280 in October 2000 using gasoline or some similar substance to destroy the building. No one has been brought to justice in this crime.

-Hernan Rojas Torres was found floating in the Cahaba River near Shelby County 13 in August 2002. He was apparently shot once before being dumped in the river. Torres&8217; murderer(s) have never been brought to justice.

Sheriff Chris Curry announced the creation of a new investigative unit earlier this week that will go a long way toward addressing the dilemma of pursuing justice in unsolved cases. Sheriff Curry has created a &8220;Cold Case&8221; investigation unit whose members, all retired law officers, bring more than 100 years of experience to the job.

Five lawmen will serve in this new unit, Steve Brannan, Larry Strayer, and Bill Fleming each retired from the FBI; Jim Dormuth, retired from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Ray White, retired from the State of Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Each man lives in Shelby County and is volunteering their time and talents to help bring justice to victims in our community.

This new unit will be serving Shelby County in addition to members of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff&8217;s office, which is already in place.

Anyone with information relating to these or other crimes should contact the Sheriff&8217;s Office at 669-4181.