By Gerri Miller
U.S. Marshalls took a suspect in custody Monday in the June shooting of Ke’Aira Battle. James Burton Dunn, 39, has been charged with capital murder and is being held in the Montgomery County Detention Facility without bond.
On June 19th, Battle was found dead in the parking lot of Elmore County Hospital. She grew up in Wetumpka, graduating from Wetumpka High School. At the time of her death, she was living in Montgomery.
Within 12 hours, Battle had been identified, as well as a suspect in her death identified, thanks to work by Wetumpka Police Department investigators. The suspect was in custody but not under arrest, as Wetumpka detectives learned through their investigation that the murder occurred outside of their jurisdiction. They were in touch with Montgomery officials, wanting to share evidence, and obtain warrants for the suspect in custody so he could be arrested and held.
After some “miscommunication,” the departments held a meeting and indicated they would work together on the case. The district attorneys for Elmore and Montgomery counties and leaders from the Wetumpka and Montgomery police departments met to determine who had jurisdiction to investigate Battle’s homicide. After the meeting, both sides said they would work together in what appeared to be a “cross jurisdictional crime.”
Cort’nee Sanford, one of Battle’s close friends, said that she was encouraged that an arrest was made after only 16 days.”Ke’Aira was more than this case, though,” she said “She was a great friend, always making people smile. She took pride in whatever she did and had the most genuine heart I’ve known. She is going to be missed by many, and very much loved.”
Battle’s brother, Ilkerious Bowe, said he was glad that justice was starting to be served. “I want to say my sister’s life was amazing in every way,” he said.
Family and friends of Battle had a small gathering downtown in Montgomery Sunday, asking for answers and to bring awareness to her case. A similar gathering was held on the Alabama State Capitol Steps for those wishing to show support to the Battle family and extended family and friends.