DA: Gentry stabbed, beaten with hammer, possibly strangled

Published 3:00 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

COLUMBIANA — Carrie Elaine Gentry of Chelsea, whose body was found in a vehicle submerged in an abandoned Leeds quarry April 10, allegedly died from stabbing, being struck with a hammer or possible strangulation, the Shelby County district attorney said at a press conference June 15.

Gentry’s grandson, Daniel Scott Gentry, 24, also of Chelsea has been indicted on one charge of capital murder/burglary for Elaine Gentry’s murder. Elaine Gentry was reported missing March 29.

Daniel Scott Gentry

District Attorney Robby Owens said the indictment alleges that Daniel Gentry entered Elaine Gentry’s home with intent to commit murder and burglary.

Daniel Gentry lived in a house on the same property as Elaine Gentry’s home.

Owens would not comment on a potential motive for the murder.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said Daniel Gentry was “only one of many” suspects at the beginning of the investigation, but evidence gathered over time led to him.

Carrie Elaine Gentry

“In a situation like this, everybody is a suspect from the very beginning,” Curry said. “You pay attention to who, what and where, and look for reasons to exclude people (as suspects).”

Curry said law enforcement has gathered “in excess of 100 pieces of evidence” during the course of the investigation.

“All of these things tied together to lead us in the direction we went in,” he said. “Patience has been required and a lot of very slow and diligent work. I do believe at this time we have definitely indicted the right person.”

Curry said while he never personally knew Elaine Gentry, he grew to understand her impact on her community. Gentry, who was 64 at the time of her death, was an ordained minister who founded Tender Mercies Ministry in 1999.

“As we got to know her and know her friends and saw the depth of commitment her community had to her, it was easy to appreciate what she had accomplished in life,” Curry said. “When someone has been wronged, when someone has been murdered, or raped, or robbed, we take it personally.”

Owens said an arraignment date has not been set, but will be within 30-45 days.

Daniel Gentry is being held in the Shelby County Jail with no bond. He has been in the jail since March 29 on an unrelated charge of probation violation.