LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – A Lee County jury took only four hours to return a guilty verdict in the murder trial of a man accused of brutally murdering an elderly victim and stashing the victim’s body in a well.

According to the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, on May 14, 2021, Hubert Timothy Sprayberry was found guilty of killing 72-year-old James Edmund Clarke.

(James Clarke)

According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Clarke was reported missing on December 19, 2019. He had not been seen for around three weeks when he was reported missing. Ten days after Clarke was reported missing, his body was found on December 29, in a well on Sprayberry’s property in the Beulah community, located at the 9000 block of Lee Road 279.

The Lee County District Attorney’s Office said Clarke’s murder is particularly disturbing and complex. Clarke’s body had been bound to cinder blocks and hidden at the bottom of the 25-foot well. Clark had been shot in the head three times and stabbed in the back 22 times, according to the Lee County District Attorney’s Office.

According to investigators, Sprayberry was an acquaintance of Clarke. According to the DA’s Office, Sprayberry became a suspect in Clarke’s murder after rope and duct tape matching the items used to bind Clarke’s body were found in Sprayberry’s van.

Officials with the DA’s Office say the state will be asking that Sprayberry be sentenced as a habitual offender due to his extensive criminal history. Sprayberry has nine previous felony convictions.

Sprayberry faces a possible life sentence following his conviction in the murder of Clarke.