Double homicide shocks community

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

The Montgomery Police Department made its first discoveries Monday in connection with the murders of two Luverne business owners.

Following the double homicide, which is believed to have occurred early last Friday morning, at the Montgomery home of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Luverne President Winston Brent Springford, 62, and his wife, a native of Luverne, Charlotte Springford, 62, investigators notified all agencies to be on the lookout for the couple's missing 1998 black Jaguar.

According to MPD spokesperson Lt. Huey Thornton, the car was recovered Monday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. in Osage County, Okla. near Tulsa on some private property.

Email newsletter signup

"We have officers in Tulsa now to do a preliminary processing of the vehicle and then it's going to be brought back here to Montgomery for them to finish the processing to attempt to gather any evidence that may be in the vehicle or on the vehicle," Thornton said.

The vehicle was expected to arrive in Montgomery on Wednesday.

Around the same time the car was recovered, investigators also located the couple's son, Winston Brent Springford Jr., 28, in Weld County, Colo. attempting to pick up a paycheck at an oilrig. Springford Jr. was wanted for questioning in connection with his parents' murder.

Thornton said Springford Jr. is not a suspect in the case, but is considered a "person of interest." Montgomery officers worked with the Weld County Sheriff's Office since Sunday to locate the couple's son.

"As far as suspects or charges, or his relation to the vehicle, we haven't connected him to the vehicle at this point, we haven't even placed him here, in the state of Alabama during the time frame in which this murder occurred," Thornton said. "That's why we're being very cautious and not necessarily naming him as a suspect at this point."

The Montgomery Police Department responded to a call at 1944 South Hull Street early last Friday morning and discovered the bodies of the prominent Montgomery couple.

The news of the couple’s deaths shocked the residents of Luverne, including Mayor Joe Rex Sport.

&uot;Pepsi’s been a long-standing business in Luverne,&uot; Sport said. &uot;It goes back to Charlotte’s grandfather, then through her father and it was passed to her hands.&uot;

According to Sport, George Turner and his wife Jetti opened the Pepsi plant in the small southern town in the late 1930’s. The business was later passed down to Turner’s son, George Eugene, and his wife Dee, before their daughter Charlotte and son-in-law Brent took over.

Sport said the couple was always willing to lend a helping hand.

&uot;The Turners have been pillars of this community from way back, shortly after the turn of the century,&uot; Sport said. &uot;They’ve been very community-minded people, they’ve always made contributions to anything that was going on within the community and, of course, Brent just followed that tradition. They’ve been real helpful to the schools, not only Luverne, but throughout the county. They were always there to help with anything that was going on. If you called on them, they were there.&uot;

The Montgomery Police Department is withholding any information concerning the case including the point of entry, whether there was forced entry involved and the murder weapon.

"We haven't released that type of information at this point," Thornton said.

As for the investigation, Thornton said investigators would continue to work diligently in hopes of finding the killer.

"We're continuing our investigation," he said. "At this point, the motive has not been determined nor have any suspects been taken into custody. Our primary aim right now is to continue to investigate this case and attempt to generate any leads that may provide us or produce a suspect, the person who is responsible for these offenses. We're doing that through

an on-scene investigation at the house and by tracking down the vehicle. Hopefully the vehicle will have some fingerprints on it or evidence inside of it that may be able to provide us with some information on at least who took the vehicle."

As for the Luverne's local law enforcement agencies, Thornton hasn't ruled out the possibility of needing their assistance later in the investigation.

"At this point, it's undetermined," Thornton said. "Clearly all avenues are open. If the investigation takes us in that direction, which is very well possible, because it had to be somebody he (Brent Springford) knew based on the way crime scene is set up. We don't feel that it was just a random act. He had associates down there as well as here in Montgomery and several other places. Definitely, that could end up being an angle at some point in the investigation. That's a possibility."