Judge delays decision on lowering Blackerby’s bond

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015


COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County District Court judge delayed a decision on lowering the bond during an Aug. 26 hearing for a 16-year-old suspect facing a murder charge connected to the July 30 death of 19-year-old William Neff.



Eric Matthew Blackerby, who is facing a murder charge after he allegedly killed Neff during a “violent attack” with an aluminum baseball bat at an outdoor area known as “the slab” on July 30, appeared before Shelby County District Court Judge Dan Reeves for a preliminary hearing and a bond hearing after Blackerby’s attorneys, Lara and Barry Alvis, filed a request for his $500,000 bond to be lowered.

Reeves heard testimony from witnesses, including Blackerby’s parents, the prosecution and the defense called to the stand for questioning before announcing he would consider the bond reduction request and make a decision when the case goes before a grand jury.

Members of Blackerby’s and Neff’s families were present for the hearing.

“One thing is obvious: Two young men were in a place they didn’t need to be, doing something they didn’t need to be doing,” Reeves said, noting two young lives were “damaged.”

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested Blackerby, who lists an address 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 after an altercation at the area commonly known as “the slab” in western Shelby County near West Blocton.

Hammac said SCSO investigators interviewed witnesses who saw the fight and used the information to identify Blackerby as a suspect.

Blackerby’s bond was set higher than normal as the result of a request by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which claimed Blackerby has “a propensity for violence and is a danger to the public at large.”

Jessie Woodard, a criminal investigator with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, read statements given by Blackerby, his older brother and other eyewitnesses after the July 30 incident.