TALLADEGA COUNTY -- A Goodwater man has been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of capital murder in connection with a killing in Sylacauga more than a year ago.
Citing a conflict of interest, the Talladega County District Attorney’s Office turned the prosecution of the case over to the state attorney general’s office. The attorney general, in turn, assigned the case to Etowah County prosecutor Jody Willoughby.
Willoughby said through an intermediary he did not intend to comment on any specifics of the case.
It was not immediately clear when Bonner would be arraigned on the capital charges, or what the aggravating circumstances alleged in this case were.
Bonner was in custody less than two weeks after the killing. According to accounts published at the time, he was driven to the Talladega County Metro Jail by his grandparents once they became aware of the warrant for him. He was able to post a $100,000 bond fairly quickly and has been out on bond ever since.
The wait has been particularly trying for Bearden’s family.
The victim’s brother, Jeremiah Stallings, issued a prepared statement on behalf of the family Thursday saying, "We were relieved to hear he (Bonner) has been indicted by a grand jury. I've been confident from the beginning that there would be an indictment and I'm confident that there will be a guilty verdict as well.
“I didn't think it would take this long, but there have been a few hurdles that have delayed the prosecution. Today marks 14 months since my brother was so tragically taken from us. It's been a very long and painful process. It's been very difficult for our family to heal without any glimpse of justice for Josh. Hopefully, now that we are one step closer to seeing justice served, we can finally begin the healing process.”
Stallings added, “Regardless of how long it takes or what verdict we see here on this earth, we know that God's timing is always perfect, and vengeance is His,” citing Paul’s letter to the Romans, 12:19.
Once Bonner is arraigned, the case will begin the process of heading to trial by a jury.
A conviction for capital murder carries a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.