PHENIX CITY, Ala (WRBL)- Investigators believe an attempted robbery led to the abduction and murder of a Phenix City man, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said Friday, November 27, 2020.
Sheriff Taylor elaborated on the possible motive when announcing two arrests in the murder of Anthony Wilborn, 39, who authorities discovered dead more than a week after his October 21 disappearance.
Taylor said Gary Cochran, 46, and Juavon Williams, 26, were arrested Wednesday night, just short of a month since Wilborn’s badly decomposed body was pulled from a creek in Hatchechubbe.
Both Cochran and Williams face capital murder charges in Wilborn’s death, according to Taylor. The sheriff added both are being held without bond.
Sheriff Taylor said the investigation indicates Cochran and Williams pretended to be broken down on Lonesome Pine Rd. the morning of October 21st. Authorities believe Wilborn saw the two on the roadside, pulled over to offer them a jump and that’s when they attacked him, Taylor said.
“What we deal with on a daily basis shows me that people have no value of life anymore,” said Taylor.
The day of Wilborn’s disappearance, Phenix City police responded to the scene. Once there, officers reported Wilborn’s truck was parked with the hood open and engine running, but no signs of him. Phenix City authorities did confirm they found evidence at the scene indicating a struggle.
For nine days, Taylor said Phenix City investigated Wilborn’s disappearance as a missing persons case. But that changed on October 30th when a foul odor led a passerby in Russell Co. to discover Wilborn’s body floating in the Hatchechubbe creek. Russell Co. Sheriff’s Office assumed the homicide investigation because Wilborn’s body was found outside the Phenix City limits.
An autopsy revealed Wilborn died of a gunshot wound, according to Russell Co. Coroner Arthur Sumbry, Jr. Taylor said it’s unclear to investigators where Wilborn was shot, whether it was at the scene of the abduction or elsewhere.
Taylor said the investigation revealed Wilborn knew the two suspects, but had no apparent close ties to either man.