Court date set for baseball bat murder suspect

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2015

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 16-year-old Alabaster murder suspect is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing in late August, according to Shelby County District Court records.



Eric Matthew Blackerby, who is facing a murder charge after he allegedly killed 19-year-old William Neff during a “violent attack” with a baseball bat at an outdoor area known as “the slab” on July 30, is set to appear in the Shelby County Courthouse in Columbiana on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

If the suspect has not hired an attorney to represent him before the preliminary hearing, a public defender will be appointed to represent him.

Blackerby has remained in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000 since his arrest.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested Blackerby, who lists an address on Shelby County 17 in Alabaster, and originally charged him with one felony count of first-degree assault. The charge was upgraded to murder after Neff died on July 31, and Blackerby is being charged as an adult in the case.

At the time of Blackerby’s arrest, SCSO Lt. Clay Hammac said deputies received a call reporting a victim had been taken to Shelby Baptist Medical Center with severe injuries at about 1:40 a.m. on July 29 following an altercation at the area commonly known as “the slab” in western Shelby County near West Blocton. Neff initially was treated at Shelby Baptist before he was transported to Princeton Baptist.

Hammac said SCSO investigators interviewed witnesses who saw the fight, and used the information to identify Blackerby as a suspect. The cause of the altercation is still under investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Murder is a Class A felony, and is punishable by up to life in prison upon conviction.