Alleged shooter’s charges sent to grand jury

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County grand jury will decide soon if it will uphold felony charges against a 54-year-old Alabaster man charged in connection with a Dec. 30 shooting off Simmsville Road.



The Alabaster Police Department arrested 54-year-old Sylvester Rhine on Dec. 31 and charged him with felony counts of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault following a shooting off Fifth Avenue Southeast shortly after 10 a.m. on Dec. 30.

Alabaster Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves bound the two charges over to the grand jury on Jan. 29, and ordered an expedited hearing since Rhine is being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $150,000.

During its next session, the grand jury will hear evidence in the case and will decide if it will uphold the charges. If the charges are upheld, Rhine will be indicted and his case will progress through Circuit Court.

During the Dec. 30 incident, officers arrived on the scene and discovered a shooting occurred, but were unable to locate the victim or the suspect.

The victim then appeared at the Shelby Baptist Medical Center emergency room about 20 minutes after the shooting suffering a gunshot wound to the hand.

According to Rhine’s arrest warrants, the shooting happened when he allegedly was attempting to steal money from the victim, which resulted in the first-degree robbery charge. The second-degree assault charge came as a result of the shooting, according to court documents.

In a recommendation to raise the suspect’s bond amount, the District Attorney’s Office wrote Rhine “has a very lengthy record, including multiple prior convictions for violent crimes, drug offenses, property crimes and has also been previously charged with escape in the first degree.”

“Defendant is a danger to the public at large, and is considered a flight risk,” read the bond recommendation.

According to court records, Rhine pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault in 1992 for stabbing a victim and striking them with a vehicle. Rhine also previously was convicted on charges of destruction of property by an inmate, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, three counts of possession of a controlled substance, second-degree burglary, second-degree receiving stolen property, manufacturing imitation drugs, resisting arrest, public intoxication and one count of second-degree assault.