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02/09/2012

Foster convicted of murder

Article contributed by The Journal Record

Foster convicted of murder

  • Hackleburg area man could get life sentence for shooting brother
By ED HOWELL
Staff Writer
 
HAMILTON - Christopher Foster was convicted on Wednesday, Feb. 1, for murdering his brother, David Alan Foster, just outside of Hackleburg on Feb. 16, 2010.
 
Marion County District Attorney Jack Bostick said on Friday, Feb. 3, that the jury took about 90 minutes to  return a verdict.
 
Foster will be sentenced on March 20 and could receive up to life in prison by Circuit Judge Lee Carter, who presided during the trial.
 
“There was no justification for the shooting,” Bostick said.
 
David Alan Foster was 46 at the time of his death, Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams said last year. Bostick said Christopher Foster was 44 at the time and turns 46 on March 1.
 
The trial in Marion County Circuit Court lasted about 2 1/2 days, Bostick said.
 
The Foster brothers lived next to each other on Alabama Highway 172, both just less than a mile east outside of the Hackleburg City Limits, Williams said at the time of the shooting.
 
Christopher Foster, who technically had a Hackleburg mailing address, lived at 7076 Alabama Highway 172, where law enforcement officers were called to after the shooting, Williams said.
“He lived right there for the past year. He’s from the Phil Campbell area,” Williams said.
 
Bostick said the shooting resulted from the fact that Foster wanted his brother and  a cousin, Ricky Johnson, that David Alan Foster worked for, to stop on a gravel road that was used by the brothers to get to their residence. The brothers lived about 100 yards apart.
 
Williams said in 2010 that the two brothers had already been arguing about the road for some time. “They were sharing the same driveway. One thought the other was traveling too fast up and down it,” he said.
 
However, Bostick said at the trial, Christopher Foster “said something completely different. He said, ‘I needed him to stop so I could look into his van.’” 
 
Bostick said Foster was drunk at the time. Alcohol was involved in the incident, Williams said at the time of the shooting, noting Foster had been drinking and his blood alcohol content was “pretty high.”
 
Bostick said Johnson would pick up David Alan Foster for work. Christopher Foster was selling scrap iron and had decided he wanted to inspect customers’ vehicles taking out the material--as well as any other vehicle coming through, including Johnson’s vehicle, as someone had mentioned to him that other vehicles were not being inspected.
 
“The shooter wanted to inspect the work van when he  came to pick up the brother,”  Bostick said.
The final incident occurred about 4 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2010.
 
“One day, the guy (Christopher Foster) blocks the road as (Johnson) was trying to leave,” after Johnson had already taken David Alan Foster home and was coming back down the road. Christopher Foster had a spiked tire board in the road, he said.
 
Johnson went back to tell David Alan Foster, and then they both returned to where the board was in the road, Bostick said.
 
According to Bostick, Christopher Foster, who claimed to be a caretaker of his residence for its owners, said, in a drunken condition, “I’m here watching this place.” Bostick said testimony indicated he was not to have stopped anyone, but to call the owners instead.
 
There was an attempt to remove the board, and Bostick said that Christopher Foster held a gun up, aiming at Johnson for most of the ensuing conversation. David Alan Foster tried to intervene  in the conversation with his brother to prevent Johnson from being injured. Finally, Christopher Foster turned the gun toward his brother and shot him in the chest.
 
Bostick said that after an interval, he later shot his brother again in the head area. However, eventually he placed the gun on a vehicle.
 
Williams said last year that a 9 mm handgun was used in the shooting.
 
Bostick said that Christopher Foster and his attorney, Wade Leathers, maintained that his brother had lunged at him and that he was shooting in self-defense.
 
Leathers said on Feb. 3 that that his client had maintained that his brother approached him in "a threatening manner" that day.
 
"He was afraid that he would get the gun away from him. The jury didn't see it that way," Leathers said.
 
Leathers said Johnson was not consistent with statements he made to the police. Also, he said that Christopher Foster did not go into details with sheriff's investigator Ronny Vickery about what he felt his brother was trying to do to him and that he had been afraid of his brother.
 
Leathers said the Foster brothers had disagreements in the past, and Christopher Foster felt that the family was against him in general.
 
In Leathers' opinion, the jury probably did not see any remorse from Christopher Foster over what had happened when they listened to him being interviewed on tape by Vickery. The jury also likely noted that David Foster did not have a gun at the time of the shooting. "That didn't sit well with the jury," he said.
 
"Basically, in my opinion, the only ones who know what really happened would be Chris Foster and David Foster," he said. "It's a real tragedy for the family. I feel for the family. They have lost two people. They lost David Foster and they lost Chris Foster at this point."
 
No decision has been made on an appeal, but there will likely be an appeal. The sentencing would likely have an influence on that decision, Leathers said. 
 
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