ANNISTON, Ala. - Sheriff's officials in eastern Alabama on Tuesday announced the arrest of a man accused in his wife's 2003 shooting death.
Randall Kilpatrick, 33, was arrested on murder charges in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson said.
Authorities initially believed the death of his wife, Deborah Kilpatrick, was a suicide. Investigators in the department's cold case unit reopened the case and eventually determined that statements the man made and evidence that had been collected contradicted each other.
Authorities have said Randall Kilpatrick told investigators that he came home to the couple's trailer in Piedmont, Alabama and found his wife's body. He said the couple's 22-month-old son who was also at home wasn't harmed.
Kilpatrick left Piedmont shortly after his wife's death although the case wasn't officially closed, Amerson said.
Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh told local media outlets that details on a potential motive surfaced during the investigation. Deborah Kilpatrick's sister, Ann Parris, told local media outlets that her sister was planning to leave Randall Kilpatrick before she was killed.
"He didn't just kill her. In a way, he literally killed my family. It destroyed my family," Parris told WBRC-TV. "I think maybe now it will start healing some of those broken pieces. I don't think it will ever be completely healed."
McVeigh thanked law enforcement and the Center for Applied Forensics at Jacksonville State University for helping investigators reconstruct the crime scene.
"Anytime you have a case that has that amount of age on it, you worry about apathy both in the community and in law enforcement. Luckily, the cold case unit takes a look at these cases regardless of age to determine if there's any evidence there," McVeigh told WBRC-TV.
It's unclear if Kilpatrick has an attorney.