Montevallo shooting suspect, Helena man indicted on robberies

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

An 18-year-old Birmingham man and a 23-year-old Helena man have been indicted on charges in connection with a January shooting in Montevallo and a 2013 armed robbery in Alabaster.

Gutierrez

Gutierrez

During its May session, a Shelby County grand jury returned indictments against 18-year-old Birmingham resident Kevin Valladares Gutierrez and 23-year-old Helena resident Michael Antonio Laforty.

Laforty

Laforty

The indictments charged Gutierrez with two felony counts of first-degree robbery and one felony count of first-degree assault and charged Laforty with one felony count of first-degree robbery.

Searcy

Searcy

Gutierrez’ charges stemmed from a Jan. 20 shooting in Montevallo and an Oct. 31, 2013 armed robbery in Alabaster.

Laforty’s charges stemmed only from the 2013 robbery in Alabaster. He has no connection with the January shooting in Montevallo, according to court documents.

In the Montevallo incident, Gutierrez and 19-year-old Montevallo resident Terry Christopher Searcy allegedly were attempting to steal marijuana from a man living in the Falcon Manor Apartments when Gutierrez allegedly shot and seriously injured Helena native Lauren George, who was in the apartment.

Gutierrez and Searcy were arrested by the Montevallo Police Department on Jan. 22 and charged with felony counts of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

During the Alabaster incident, Gutierrez, Searcy and Laforty allegedly stole marijuana from an Alabaster man while Gutierrez was armed with a revolver. No injuries were reported in the Oct. 31 incident, according to court documents.

Searcy has been charged with three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree assault. One of Searcy’s robbery charges stemmed from an alleged armed robbery at the Columbiana Sanpeggio’s Pizza restaurant on Jan. 19.

As of June 2, Searcy had not been indicted on any charges.

Gutierrez and Searcy have remained in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $150,000 and $180,000, respectively, since their January arrests and Laforty was released on a $60,000 bond in March.

Gutierrez’ attorney, Tanita Cain, has requested Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves lower Gutierrez’ bond to $65,000 because the “current bond is excessive.”

“The defendant has attempted through family and friends to raise the funds for bond, and has been unable to do so,” Cain wrote in a May 20 request to reduce Gutierrez’ bond.

Reeves is scheduled to make a ruling on Gutierrez’ bond during a July 7 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse.