Crime

Update: Third arrest made in deadly home invasion in Cusseta

Kyle Nazario

knazario@ledger-enquirer.com

From left: Lee County district attorney Robbie Treese, Opelika Police Chief Detective Terry McMenamin, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones and Capt. Van Jackson, chief investigator with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Jones led a press conference announcing the arrests of Davonte Travon Mike and Robert Jamal Wiggins for capital murder.
From left: Lee County district attorney Robbie Treese, Opelika Police Chief Detective Terry McMenamin, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones and Capt. Van Jackson, chief investigator with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Jones led a press conference announcing the arrests of Davonte Travon Mike and Robert Jamal Wiggins for capital murder. knazario@ledger-enquirer.com

Update: Khaleef Jevante Marshall, 20, of Opelika was charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Curtis Rudd. He is being held in the Lee County Detention Center without bond.

Co-defendant Robert Jamal Wiggins is still a patient at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika under watch by Lee county deputies and will be transported to the Lee County Detention Center upon release.

The Jan. 19 deadly home invasion is being investigated in conjunction with a separate home invasion attempted robbery and burglary of an elderly Opelika woman that happened on Lee Road 390 about four hours prior to Rudd's death.

Authorities said the investigation has revealed evidence linking Davonte Travon Mike and Wiggins to the Opelika crime also. These cases are still under active investigation and may result in additional arrests.  

If you have any information about these cases or any other cases please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 1-334-749-5651 or Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-522-7847.

Original Story: Two men were charged with one count of capital murder each in connection to the home invasion and murder of Curtis Bennie Rudd.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said in a press conference that Davonte Travon Mike, 20, and Robert Jamal Wiggins, 20, have been charged in relation to Rudd's death.

Jones said Mike is being held in the Lee County Detention Center without bond. Wiggins is a patient at the East Alabama Medical Center under watch by Lee County deputies and will be transported to the Detention Center upon release, according to the sheriff.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call around 1:13 a.m. CST from a home in the 3400 area of Lee Road 177 in Cusseta, Jones said. According to the conference, the caller was Rudd's wife, who said her husband had been shot by intruders.

Jones said he did not want to release too much specific evidence about the crime because it was an active investigation, but he could say they believe two men wearing ski masks forced open the Rudds' front door.

At least one of the men was armed with a handgun, according to Jones. He declined to say the type or model.

Jones said at least one intruder opened fire on the couple. Rudd was able to return fire with a medium-caliber handgun at the suspects as they fled the home, and his wife was not physically injured.

Wiggins, one of the suspects, was brought to the hospital. Jones said he did not know Wiggins' condition, but expected him to recover.

The sheriff's office declined to release a motive or say why the intruders picked the Rudds' home or say whether it was gang related because of the ongoing investigation. Jones called robbery the most likely motive.

Jones confirmed that Wiggins had moved to Columbus recently from Chicago and had no criminal record in his new home. Mike, he said, was from Opelika and had been arrested previously.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office responded to another call earlier the same evening. They visited the home of an elderly woman living on Lee Road 390 less than 2 miles away from the Rudds who reported a burglary in her home.

The woman said a tall, thin black man kicked in her front door and entered her home. She struck him several times with her walking stick before he fled the scene.

Jones said the two cases are being investigated as related incidents.

He emphasized to the public that the two suspects were in jail and gave an emphatic warning to other potential criminals.

"Make no mistake about it, anybody that contemplates this, for law enforcement in Lee County, our resolve will know no limit," Jones said. "Our pursuit will be relentless. We will identify you, and we're not going to rest until you're breathing the air of confinement and awaiting justice."

Jones also expressed sympathy for the family at the start and end of the conference.

"Mr. Rudd and his entire family are good, decent people," Jones said. "He was well known for his generosity and community efforts."

Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said the two could face additional charges. There will be a grand jury hearing in the case in the last week in March.

Law enforcement is still investigating the case and looking for additional suspects, according to Jones. He asked anyone with relevant information to contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 1-334-749-5651 or Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-522-7847.

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