arrest

A Tallapoosa County Grand Jury has indicted two suspects for capital murder in the deaths of Dadeville residents Willie Tidwell and Barbara Tidwell.

Court documents and Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department arrest reports show Derrick Hightower of Columbus was indicted last month on four counts of capital murder and one count of second-degree theft. Kentrice Hill of Birmingham was also indicted on the same charges.

The Tidwells were found dead in their North Barrett Street home in Dadeville.

The indictments state Hightower shot the Tidwells with a handgun causing their death while trying to steal two firearms and prescription drugs during a home invasion in April 2020.

Hightower and Hill now face trial for two counts of capital murder while committing a robbery, capital muder while committing a burglary, capital murder causing the deaths of two or more people and second-degree theft.

Hightower and Hill are connected to a string of thefts, robberies and murders starting just hours before the Tidwells’ death in Auburn.

In Lee County, Hill has been charged with two counts of capital murder and court records state Hightower was also involved in the April robbery and death of a 54-year-old Smiths Station woman. Auburn police said the woman was found dead from gunshot wounds along with a truck on fire at Creative Habitats Landscaping on U.S. Highway 280.

Law enforcement believe Hightower and Hill left Dadeville and continued up U.S. Highway 280.

In Jefferson County, Hightower is being held on capital murder charges after a shootout with Birmingham police.

A day after the Tidwells were found murdered, Birmingham police exchanged gunfire with Hightower, who was driving a vehicle the Auburn Police Department was seeking in connection to the Auburn shooting.

“We discovered the vehicle was stolen from Auburn and involved in a homicide,” Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Rodarius Mauldin said in a release. “Officers attempted a traffic stop and the suspect exited the vehicle and gunfire was exchanged.”

Mauldin said Hightower fled on foot and Birmingham police officers followed him to a residence where a person was found deceased from a gunshot.

Hill has been indicted by a Lee County Grand Jury on two counts of capital murder.

County Hightower has been indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury on one count of capital murder during a burglary and four counts of attempted murder.

Both Hightower and Hill remain in jail with no bond available to them.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.