A Shelby County man granted youthful offender status might be headed for trial on murder charges after that status was revoked in December.
Loren Daniel Bunner, 22, is scheduled for arraignment Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. at the Clay County Courthouse, said a secretary at the Clay County District Attorney’s office.
Bunner was 20 when he allegedly shot his former girlfriend Jolee Callan, 18, twice in the head and threw her body off a cliff when they were hiking the Pinhoti Trail in Clay County, according to law enforcement sources. Bunner said the killing was part of a suicide pact, but he couldn’t go through with his own suicide, according to court records. Later, Bunner called 911 in Calhoun County allegedly telling the dispatcher that he had murdered his girlfriend, court records state.
He led law enforcement agents to her body and the gun and repeatedly confessed to killing her, Cleburne County Investigator Bryan Tumlin, one of the first responders, had said at the time.
But the case halted in Clay County on May 24 when Circuit Judge George Simpson granted Bunner youthful offender status, according to court records. Youthful offender status is available to adults who commit a crime with a sentence of 12 months or more before their 21st birthday. It makes the case confidential and limits the sentence to three years in jail and fines. Bunner was 52 days away from his 21st birthday on the day he killed Callan.
According to court records, the state appealed to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to set aside the youthful offender status. In November, the appeal was dismissed because the request was filed too late, according to the appellate court order. Still, on Nov. 16, the circuit court revoked Bunner’s youthful offender status and scheduled his arraignment.
On Dec. 12, a request to vacate the change was denied by Simpson. Attempts to reach Bunner’s attorney, Greg Varner, and the Clay County District Attorney Jeff Willis for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Staff Writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872 in Heflin, 256-235-3545 in Anniston. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.