SHEFFIELD, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man arrested in the shooting death of a police sergeant is charged with capital murder in the deaths of both the officer and a friend whose killing sparked a manhunt and deadly chase, court documents showed Thursday.
Brian Lansing Martin, 41, is jailed without bond in the killings of Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner and William Mealback Jr. of Cypress Inn, Tennessee. The two were fatally shot in the northwest Alabama town of Muscle Shoals last week.
Authorities said Martin killed Mealback, a close friend, with a shot to the head while the were driving through the city on Friday. He was accused of abuse of a corpse for allegedly flinging the body out of a moving vehicle into a street, where witnesses saw it and called authorities.
The search for the shooter resulted in a chase in which police said Martin, who previously served time for manslaughter, shot Risner and another officer who was protected by a bulletproof vest.
Martin was injured in the shootout with police but was sent to jail after being released from a hospital. He also was charged with attempted murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and illegal possession of a gun.
Court records do not include the name of an attorney who could speak on Martin's behalf.
Police and elected leaders have complained that Martin was released from custody early after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the death of his father in 2013. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Martin was released in 2016 under a “good time” law that allows prisoners to shave time off their terms for behaving while in custody.
Risner's funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon at a church in Florence. The service will be open to the public, and the Sheffield Police Department said it would close its offices for the day so workers can attend.
Gov. Kay Ivey ordered flags lowered statewide in honor of Risner, a veteran who worked with a police dog.