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Decatur man indicted in killing of Hartselle man

Ricardo Santos Bass, 41

By Michael Wetzel

For the Enquirer

A Morgan County grand jury has indicted a Decatur man on a charge of capital murder in the August 2021 shooting death at a Wavaho gas station, and the district attorney plans to seek the death penalty.

Ricardo Santos Bass, 41, is accused of the fatal shooting of Mark Allen Nicholson, 54, of Hartselle, at the Wavaho station at 707 Wilson St. N.W. on Aug. 19, 2021. Less than an hour prior, Bass allegedly shot and killed Jeffrey Carden, 31, of Huntsville, in a parking lot on McVay Street in Huntsville, according to police.

Authorities captured Bass in a wooded area near County Line Road and Interstate 565 after a car chase and short foot chase on Aug. 31, 2021.

“Currently, it is my plan to seek the death penalty in the case,” Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said.

In a court filing last week, defense attorney Christy M. Miller of Hartselle filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Bass. Her motion states that the defendant requested that she withdraw because Bass “lacks trust” in her, and that “further representation is impossible under the circumstances.”

Co-counsel Catherine Carter, also court-appointed, said she is not sure if the court will name another attorney to join Bass’ defense.

“This case will not be tried before 2024 at the earliest,” Carter said. “It will be up to the court system if it wants to appoint another attorney, but that action won’t delay the trial. There are other capital cases in front of it.”

Bass is accused of shooting and robbing Nicholson, who was fueling his pickup. According to a police affidavit, surveillance video shows Bass taking Nicholson’s wallet after shooting him.

A Decatur acquaintance of Bass, Calvin Jerrod Garth, 44, of 206 13th Ave. N.W., was indicted on first-degree hindering prosecution for his alleged role in assisting Bass flee authorities. He initially denied assisting Bass in eluding police but “would go on to eventually admit that he provided Ricardo with a ride away from the residence, and dropped him off at an unspecified location in Decatur,” according to the affidavit.

Garth is charged with a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Morgan County sheriff’s spokesperson Mike Swafford said Bass is in “administrative housing away from the general population” at the county jail. Bass is being held without bond.

Others indicted on capital murder charges in the August session of the grand jury were Ayqueele Mickole Edmond of Fort Worth, Texas, Keondrick Tyrek Boyd of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Khamis Zakaria Yugusuk of Nashville. The three are accused of shooting Rodney Maurice Fossett Jr., 21, during a robbery at Summer Courtyard Apartments in Southwest Decatur on July 13, 2021. Fossett died from his injuries at Huntsville Hospital on Aug. 5, 2021.

“All four are capital murder cases that will involve a great deal of time and effort on the part of the DA’s office, the respective defense attorneys as well as the court system,” Anderson said. “We will continue to work on each one so that we are fully prepared when it’s time to present them to a jury.”

The grand jury also issued three non-capital murder indictments charging Thomas Dale Chapman Jr. of Cullman, Jason O’Neall Stovall of Decatur and Kellie Monroe Hurley of Huntsville.

Chapman, 59, is accused of killing his son-in-law Isaac Keola Rodgers, 31, of Holly Pond near Falkville in September 2021.

Stovall, 39, is accused of the stabbing death of Lorenzo Mitchell.

Hurley, 38, is accused of the shooting death of Demetres Orr of Hartselle.

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