The capital murder trial of Jeff McKelvey is scheduled to begin Aug. 12 in Criminal Court in Guntersville. It will be the first capital trial in Marshall County since 2012, when Jessie Phillips was convicted of the 2009 shooting deaths of his wife and their unborn child in a carwash at Warrenton.
McKelvey is charged with killing Denie and Pam Tucker in their home on Pea Ridge Road near Asbury during a robbery. According to past testimony at hearings in the case, McKelvey had approached Mr. Tucker at the Cracker Barrel in Cullman with a scam sob story about how he didn’t have any money and was trying to get somewhere to check on his daughter who’d been in a wreck.
Mr. Tucker, who was known for his generosity, gave him $60. The stranger insisted that he wanted to repay him and Mr. Tucker gave McKelvey a business card with his address on it.
McKelvey and an associate, Henry Pyle, later went to the Tucker home to rob them. Pyle pled guilty earlier and is serving a life sentence and is expected to be a key witness at the trial.
It will likely take at least 2 days to select a jury for the case, possibly longer, meaning opening statements and testimony will likely start on Wednesday or Thursday following jury selection on Monday and Tuesday.
District attorney Everett Johnson and chief assistant district attorney Ed Kellett will prosecute the case. Johnson said they intend to seek the death penalty. The defense attorneys are Brian White of Decatur and Kevin Hanson of Albertville.
The Tucker deaths occurred in September of 2015. A fingerprint on the door of the Tucker home led police to McKelvey.
McKelvey, who lived in Decatur, had a criminal past and had been in and out of prison, prosecutors have said previously.