Teen indicted on baseball bat murder charge

Published 10:11 am Friday, November 13, 2015

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County grand jury has indicted a 16-year-old Alabaster resident on a murder charge after the teen allegedly killed a 19-year-old during a baseball bat attack in late July.



The grand jury returned a one-count indictment against Eric Matthew Blackerby on Nov. 4, upholding the charge brought against him last summer following the attack.

Blackerby is now scheduled to appear in Shelby County Circuit Court in Columbiana for an arraignment on Jan. 4, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

Blackerby was charged with murder after police said he allegedly killed 19-year-old William Neff during a “violent attack” with an aluminum baseball bat at an outdoor area known as “the slab” on July 29.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested Blackerby on July 30 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.

On Oct. 12, Blackerby’s attorney, Barry Alvis, filed a motion to allow mental health examiner Dr. John Goff to have access to Blackerby for a mental evaluation at the Shelby County Jail, where the suspect has remained since his arrest. Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves agreed on Oct. 13 to allow Goff to have access to Blackerby in the jail “at all reasonable times and duration to evaluate” the suspect.

As of Nov. 13, Blackerby was still being held in the Shelby County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

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