Alabama Attorney General Announces Indictments in 2015 Death of Eric Cates

Courtesy of the Calhoun County Journal By: Lee Evancho

Walker County, AL – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has announced the indictments of Joshua Franklin Hill, 35, and Luke Williams, Jr., 34, both of Walker County, for the 2015 death of Eric Cates. The two men have been charged with Capital Murder following an extensive investigation into the grim case that shocked the local community nearly a decade ago.

Eric Cates and his dog, Gypsy, were discovered dead on March 21, 2015, in the Empire community. Their bodies, found inside a small truck, were severely burned, as was the vehicle’s interior. The tragic discovery prompted a thorough investigation by local and state authorities.

In a previous development last October, Hill had been indicted alongside Cyrena Cheyenne Styles, 28, also of Walker County, with each facing a charge of murder. The new indictments, served on May 15, 2024, now escalate the charges against Hill and add Williams as a co-defendant.

The evidence leading to these indictments was presented to a Walker County grand jury by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Division and Criminal Trials Divisions. This effort was a collaboration with the Sumiton Police Department and former agents from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office. The Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office also provided crucial assistance in the investigation.

Attorney General Marshall highlighted the dedication and cooperation among the various law enforcement agencies involved in this prolonged and complex case. “The pursuit of justice for Eric Cates and his family has been a priority, and these indictments mark a significant step forward,” he stated.

If convicted of Capital Murder, both Hill and Williams face severe penalties, including the possibility of life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, no further details about the case or the alleged crimes of the defendants have been released at this time. The Attorney General’s office emphasizes that both defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The community continues to watch closely as the legal process unfolds, hopeful that justice for Eric Cates and his loyal dog, Gypsy, will finally be served.

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