Womack convicted of Hatcher murder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 1999

A Greenville man was found guilty by a Butler County jury this week for the crime of manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Joseph Hatcher almost one year ago.

Corey Womack, a 20 year-old of Greenville, was convicted for manslaughter Tuesday for his part in a shooting that took place on Dec. 28, 1998 at a residence on Perdue Place. He and Carl Anthony Edwards, who was found guilty of manslaughter in June, apparently acted together during the crime.

Hatcher had died the day of the crime as a result of wounds sustained during the shooting. Womack had also been shot, leaving him in critical condition in the intensive care unit of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital after the shooting.

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Womack was being tried for murder, but after listening to testimony, the jury returned with a verdict of manslaughter.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Townes said they argued that the shooting and consequent death of Hatcher was a direct result of a plan to rob the victim.

"Our contention was that there was a pre-conceived plan by Womack and Edwards to go to Hatcher's house and rob him," Townes said. "He (Hatcher) let them in and sometime in the process of the robbery, a handgun was produced and shots were fired."

Womack had already gone to trial in June, but a jury at that time was unable to render a unanimous decision after two days of deliberation, resulting in a hung jury.

Townes said that the D.A.'s office is glad this trial ended with a decision.

"We are satisfied with the jury's conviction. They made the determination that Womack was guilty of the crime and we are satisfied with that decision," Townes said.

Womack will be in a courtroom again on Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. for a sentencing hearing. Townes said that the normal sentencing for manslaughter is 2 to 20 years, but because a deadly weapon was used Womack is looking at a sentence of 10 to 20 years.

The Greenville Police Department responded to the scene of the crime on December 28, 1998 at 106 Perdue Place at approximately 4 p.m. after calls reporting shots were being fired in the area. Upon arrival, officers found Hatcher lying in the driveway. When they investigated inside the house, they found Womack on the floor in the rear bedroom.

A witness at the time had told police that the two men got into an altercation and began shooting at each other. Police said that they knew that at least eight shots had been fired, four in the bathroom and four in the bedroom.

Officers recovered three handguns believed to be used in the shooting and marijuana with an estimated street value of $33,000 on the premises.

Johnson, who was 19 at the time of the incident, fled the scene. He was later arrested and charged by the Greenville Police Department for murder and reckless endangerment.