published Monday, December 30th, 2013

Trio charged with kidnapping in Willis slaying transferred

Michael Townsel Jr., left; Delia Downs, center; and Christopher Cagle
Michael Townsel Jr., left; Delia Downs, center; and Christopher Cagle
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The three people charged last week in connection with the Dec. 17 death of 38-year-old Sardis resident Gary Lee Willis were transferred to Marshall County custody over the weekend after new information developed on the venue in the case.

DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff Jimmy Harris said in a release on Monday that Michael Stanley Townsel Jr., 28, Christopher Todd Cagle, 28, and Delia May Downs, 33, are currently being held in the Marshall County Jail on charges of kidnapping, 1st degree, with bonds set at $1 million each.

The case is being turned over to Marshall County after the investigation revealed facts about the beating, kidnapping, and subsequent murder of Willis, Harris states in the release.

“A Friday morning meeting with all members of the Homicide Task Force was useful in determining the proper venue to charge these suspects,” Harris’ release states.

Additional charges against the trio are expected and will be announced by Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshal and Walls, Harris said.

Townsel, Cagle and Downs also have drug charges in DeKalb County, while the investigation into the death of Willis is ongoing and investigators continue to collect information and evidence, Harris states in the release issued Monday.

In addition to those developments, DeKalb County officers executed a drug search warrant and several consent searches during the investigation that resulted in a number of drug and drug-related charges against the trio and similar charges against a half dozen other people, according to Harris.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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