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Russell County DA confirms he will seek death penalty in recent double-homicide case

As expected, Russell District Attorney Kenneth Davis confirmed that he will seek the death penalty against two men accused of killing a couple inside their home.

Joshua Pickard, 34, and Daryus Sullivan, 22, made their first court appearances Friday morning in front of District Court Judge Walt Gray. Gray ordered the two men held without bond in the Russell County Jail. 

They are facing capital murder charges.

The men were arrested earlier this week in the double murder of an elderly couple who may have been killed so the suspects could steal a few cans of beer, some food, and a car, according to the Russell County Sheriff's Office. William Perry, 65, and his live-in girlfriend 50-year old Deborah Peay were discovered dead inside their home after a Jan. 13 fire. The case quickly transitioned into a homicide investigation after forensic evidence showed the couple had been shot and killed before the fire.

"We are seeking the death penalty because of the nature of the crimes and the criminal history of these two individuals," Davis said.

Sheriff Heath Taylor said during a Thursday news conference to announce the arrests that he expected Davis to seek the death penalty.

"I have spoken with the District Attorney's office, and Mr. Davis is absolutely going after the death penalty," Taylor said.

In addition to denying bond, Gray also appointed lawyers for the two suspects during the brief court hearing. Phenix City attorney Jeremy Armstrong, who has extensive death penalty representation, will represent Sullivan. Pickard will be represented by Phenix City attorney Joel Collins.

It took five days of no sleep and an anonymous tip from the community to get the break investigators needed to begin getting justice for the couple, Taylor said.

"The motive, in this case, is going to be burglary," the sheriff said during a Thursday news conference.

Investigators say Pickard and Sullivan didn't know the couple when they allegedly rode bikes to the couples home on Silver Run Road and forced their way inside. Taylor says that's when one of the suspects shot the couple with a .32 caliber handgun. The home was then burglarized, and the suspects allegedly stole the couples car.  
 
"I will tell you some of the items taken from the home are food and beer. Our victims, in this case, Mr. Perry and Ms. Peay lost their lives over something that minor," said Sheriff Taylor.
     
Investigators stopped short of saying the suspects had confessed, but they did recover what they believe is the murder weapon and say the suspects told them where they stashed the stolen vehicle in a nearby vacant garage.
         
Jenika Hall says one of the suspects, Dayrus Sullivan is her godson. She says the other suspect, Joshua Pickard is her ex-boyfriend. Hall says Sullivan moved down from Kentucky just a few weeks ago. She says there is no way her godson could have committed murder.

"Dayrus is my godson, and the other guy is my ex-boyfriend. Dayrus' whole mood changed he wanted to go back home he is drinking beer all day and was crying and can't sleep," Hall told News 3.

Thursday morning Sullivan and Pickard were arrested at a Logan Drive Mobile home, 14-miles away from the crime scene. Investigators won't say who they believe pulled the trigger. They do hope the arrests bring a measure of peace to the victims' families and the community.

"Bringing justice for Mr. Perry and Ms. Peay is why we do what we do," said Taylor.

 


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