Trio suspected in slaying of Alabama man transferred to Marshall County

Trio suspected in slaying of Alabama man transferred to Marshall County

December 31st, 2013 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Michael Townsel Jr., left; Delia Downs, center; and Christopher Cagle

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The three people charged last week in connection with the Dec. 17 death of a Sardis, Ala., resident were transferred to Marshall County, Ala., custody over the weekend after new information was developed in the case.

DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff Jimmy Harris said in a news release Monday that Michael Stanley Townsel Jr., 28; Christopher Todd Cagle, 28; and Delia May Downs, 33, are 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 slaying of 38-year-old Gary Lee 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.

Last week, the three were charged after authorities say they established that Willis had been at a home on Old McVille Road off Alabama Highway 75 near the Marshall-DeKalb county line on Dec. 13, and was taken from that location against his will, a Marshall County release states.

Marshall County Sheriff's Office officials say the three are the suspects in Willis' slaying.

"At this time, we have the individuals in custody that we believe are responsible for the death of Mr. Willis," Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls said last Tuesday in a news release. "They are currently charged with kidnapping first, and because this offense occurred between multiple counties, we have more evidence and information to gather before going forward with additional charges, such as murder."

Additional charges will be announced by Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshal and Walls, Harris said.

Townsel, Cagle and Downs also face drug charges in DeKalb County, and the investigation into the death of Willis is ongoing as investigators continue to collect information and evidence, Harris said Monday.

Also, DeKalb County officers executed a drug search warrant and several consent searches during the investigation, Harris said.

Arrested during searches were Cagle and Downs and Denise Maria McGathey, 35, of Crossville, Ala.; John Henry McGathey, 34, of Crossville, Ala.; and Jose Perez, 24, of Albertville, Ala.

Cagle, Downs, both of Albertville, Ala., Denise McGathey and John McGathey each are charged with unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. John McGathey also was charged with resisting arrest and Perez was charged with unlawful possession of controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication.

Townsel, of Fort Payne, was arrested on charges of unlawful possession of controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, conspiracy to commit a drug crime and theft of property, third degree.

Randy Lewayne Snow, 32, of Boaz, Ala., was arrested for failure to appear on a charge of unlawful possession of controlled substance, and on additional charges of unlawful possession of controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and promoting prison contraband.

Desiree Sheree Cook, 23, of Fort Payne, was charged with unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kevin Euil Goble, 35, of Crossville, was charged with failure to appear.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6569.