Vincent murder suspect’s youthful status overturned

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ASHLAND – A Clay County Circuit Court judge has revoked youthful offender status for a 22-year-old Vincent man who has been charged with shooting and killing an 18-year-old Vincent woman, according to Clay County court records.

Bunner

Bunner

Circuit Court Judge George Simpson originally granted youthful offender status to Loren Daniel Bunner, who has been charged with the August 2015 shooting death of 18-year-old Vincent resident Jolee Callan, in May.

In his order to grant youthful status, Simpson cited Bunner’s lack of a criminal history, and wrote “the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama has ruled that a trial court may not deny youthful offender status based solely on the nature of the crime.”

When Bunner was granted youthful offender status, his court documents were sealed from public view, and his maximum sentence was capped at three years in jail.

However, Simpson revoked Bunner’s youthful status on Nov. 17, according to court documents, meaning Bunner will now be tried as an adult on the felony murder charge. If found guilty, he faces up to life in prison.

After Bunner’s youthful offender status was revoked, his attorney, Gregory Varner, made a motion requesting Simpson reinstate the youthful status, claiming no new charges or additional evidence have been filed against Bunner. Simpson denied Varner’s motion on Dec. 12.

Bunner is now set to appear in court for an arraignment on Jan. 11 at 9 a.m.

Bunner’s Aug. 31, 2015, arrest came one day after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a homicide on the Pinhoti Trail in Cheaha State Park in Delta.

After searching the area, sheriff’s deputies discovered Callan’s body. Callan, a 2015 graduate of Vincent High School, was shot and killed with a .22-caliber Ruger Bearcat revolver, deputies said.

In addition to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Oxford Police Department, Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville State University Forensics, U.S. Forestry Department agents, Cleburne County Search and Rescue and Clay County Search and Rescue assisted in the investigation of the crime.