Falkville man now charged with two capital murders, attempted murder

By Eric Fleischauer

For the Enquirer

A man already charged with capital murder had charges filed against him Wednesday for a second count of capital murder and for attempted murder, each of the three counts stemming from a Sunday evening shooting near Falkville.

Joshua Lamar Knighten, 35, is being held in Morgan County Jail on a charge of capital murder for allegedly shooting into the vehicle of Mitchell Ray Beard, 62, of Falkville, who died Sunday at the scene of the shootings at Goodwin Road.

Knighten is also charged with capital murder for the shooting death of Marcus Ken Reed, 36, of Falkville, Beard’s stepson. Reed was found in his Goodwin Road residence with multiple gunshot wounds. He was airlifted to Huntsville Hospital and removed from life support Tuesday. On Tuesday evening the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reported that he had died.

Knighten is charged with the attempted murder of Sarah Conley. Conley was also shot at the Goodwin Road site and left before deputies arrived. Dispatch contacted deputies while they were at the crime scene and advised Conley had arrived at the Falkville Police Department with multiple gunshot wounds. She was also transported to Huntsville Hospital but, according to sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford, was in stable condition and released from the hospital Tuesday.

According to an affidavit by Morgan County Investigator Caleb Brooks, Knighten called 911 after the shootings.

“I told them if I left out of that door and nobody told me who had been stealing from my uncle, that they was ready to die,” Knighten told the dispatcher, according to Brooks’ affidavit.

In a hardship affidavit seeking court-appointed lawyers, Knighten said he was living on Goodwin Road with his uncle.

The defendant also told the 911 dispatcher, according to Brooks, “They are going to lock me up for the rest of my life.”

If convicted of capital murder, he will either be sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Mitchell in his vehicle, already dead. Knighten was “laying sprawled out on the ground,” according to Brooks’ affidavit. Deputies found a 9mm Glock-19 on the driveway and a Springfield XDM Elite 9mm pistol in Knighten’s residence. The Sheriff’s Office listed both guns as murder weapons.

As a deputy placed Knighten into a patrol vehicle for transport to the jail, Knighten said, “How many lives did I end tonight?” according to the affidavit.

Morgan County District Judge Kevin Kusta appointed Decatur attorneys Brent Burney and Brian White to represent Knighten, who has pleaded not guilty. Knighten on Wednesday was scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing before Morgan County District Judge Brent Craig on March 2.

Knighten was previously charged with third-degree assault in Lawrence County, but according to court records the charge was dismissed at the request of the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office in 2015 when the alleged victim refused to testify.

Knighten was charged in Limestone County with third-degree theft in 2009 and after pleading guilty was sentenced in 2010 to two years of unsupervised probation, according to court records. His probation was revoked when he allegedly stole $1,940 worth of “knives, tools, jewelry and a bottle of wine” and served a year in jail, according to a court order. At that time he resided in Athens, according to court records.

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