Kenmonte Jacobe Winsley, 23, was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with Royal’s death. Winsley was being held at the Calhoun County Jail on probation violation charges stemming from an earlier charge of robbery, said Anniston police Sgt. Josh Doggrell. Winsley was on probation at the time of Royal’s death.
“We’re trying to stress to folks that this is an active investigation,” Doggrell said. “We can’t rule out the possibility that other people may be involved.”
Doggrell said because police are still in the early stages of the investigation he could not release more information, including a possible motive for the crime.
Royal, 24, was a sergeant in the Alabama National Guard’s 167th Forward Support Company in Oxford, where she worked as a cook. She had been in the Guard for seven years and had plans to deploy to Afghanistan in June.
Around 1:30 p.m. on Good Friday, 911 operators received a call about the shooting at Constantine Homes. Police found Royal in her apartment, dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
The shooting prompted a strong response from the community, including a candlelight vigil the Saturday night after Royal’s death, as well as a Facebook page dedicated to finding justice for the murder.
A social media campaign, “Stiletto’s and Camo’s,” started by Royal’s friends Tiffany Carter and Shunquita Hardy encouraged women to take pictures of themselves in high-heel shoes as a way to raise awareness about Royal's death. The site was inspired by a similar campaign in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting incident in Florida earlier this year.
“We had seen so many of these pictures of people wearing hoodies for Trayvon,” Hardy said. “We thought, what could we wear for Dequirea?”
Carter said hundreds of people uploaded photos on Facebook, including many people who did not know Royal personally but expressed support for the campaign.
“I’m just so excited,” Carter said Wednesday by phone after hearing about the arrest. “We fought so hard and we just wanted justice.”
The high-heel-shoe photos also served as a reminder to the community about other deaths in Anniston involving women, including Shaquita Murray, 29, who was allegedly beaten to death last December, and Shana Dorman, 32, found shot to death in a car in an empty parking lot on South Quintard Avenue in September 2011. Carter said she plans to keep the website active as a reminder of the cases that remain open.
“We want to feel like we can live in our own homes and not be worried we’ll be murdered or worry about letting our kids play outside,” Carter said. “We just want people to know we want all this crime to stop, so people can be safe again.”
Winsley was being held on $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court June 11.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.