Murder of Perry Griffin Solved After 13 Years

During the early morning hours of June 26, 2007, Perry Griffin, an employee of Panhandle Converters and Scrap, was going to go out of town to purchase items for the business.  Perry was preparing to leave the business with a large amount of cash, as he had done before numerous times.  As Perry was preparing to leave the parking lot of the business, two suspects armed with weapons confronted him.

Evidence recovered at the scene led investigators to believe the suspects may have intended to physically restrain Perry, and possibly take him to another location.  It appeared Perry resisted and, during a physical struggle, a suspect fired his weapon and fatally wounded Perry.

The two suspects fled from the scene on foot, after collecting the large sum of money in Perry’s possession.  It is believed the third suspect was waiting nearby in a vehicle.

At the time of the incident in 2007, investigators worked diligently around the clock on the case.  Persons of interest were developed and countless interviews were conducted.  The case had remained unsolved and multiple investigators had worked numerous hours in an attempt to bring  this case to a close.  Due to a lack of sufficient evidence, they were unable to close the case.

In June of 2020, new information surfaced on the case.  Several people have been re-interviewed, several new people have been interviewed, and the original case file has been reviewed meticulously.  As a result of this recent investigation and with efforts during the original investigation, sufficient evidence has now been gathered to allow for arrest warrants to be obtained for the arrest of the following three suspects:

Kevin Shawn Thornton (48) of Dothan was charged with Murder, Robbery 1st degree, and a SORNA violation.  Thornton is being held without bail on the Murder and Robbery charges and a $15,000 bond on the SORNA violation.  Thornton was 35 years old at the time of the murder and was an employee at Panhandle Converters.

Jessie Jerome Swain (47) of Dothan was charged with Murder and Robbery 1st degree and is being held without bond.  Swain was 34 years old at the time of the murder and was an employee at Panhandle Converters.

Kendrick Fitzgerald Bryant (30) was charged with Murder and Robbery 1st degree.  Bryant is currently in an Alabama Prison and his arrest is forthcoming.  Bryant was 17 years old at the time of the murder and his connection is through Swain.

The Dothan Police Department would like to thank many agencies for their assistance in this case, to include the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the US Marshal’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Shots fired during Armed Robbery Lands Two in Jail

On July 7, 2020, Dothan Police Officers responded to an armed robbery in progress at a local check cashing business in the 1100 block of North Alice Street.  According to reports by the business employees, a suspect entered the business armed with a handgun and demanded money.  The suspect fired shots towards three employees at the back of the business.  As the suspect was fleeing out of the front door, the suspect fired more shots towards an employee behind the counter.  No employees were injured during the incident.  Investigators were able to identify the suspect through employees who recognized the suspect, identified as Deshone Donald, since Donald was in the business minutes earlier cashing a check.

On 7/10/2020, the U.S. Marshal’s Service Gulf Coast Fugitive Task Force apprehended Donald and the alleged getaway driver, Fredrick Ricks, in Quincy, FL.  Dothan Police Department would like to thank the Task Force for their assistance in this case.

Deshone Elesquial Donald (31) of Quincy, FL was charged with four counts of Attempted Murder and one count of Robbery 1st Degree and is being held without bond.

Fredrick Carl Ricks (28) of Quincy, FL was charged with one count of Robbery 1st Degree with a bond of $10,000.

 

Notice about fireworks inside the city limits

As the July 4th holiday approaches, we remind our citizens fireworks are illegal in the City Limits of Dothan. The Police Department will be patrolling and may issue citations for illegal use of fireworks. For those readers who may legally use fireworks at their home (again, this is no one in the City Limits of Dothan!!) we would like to encourage safety first! We encourage those within the City Limits to visit a professionally produced fireworks show such as the “Fireworks on the Fairgrounds” beginning at 9:00 PM at the Peanut Festival Fairgrounds.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety lists nine safety tips that encourage firework users to celebrate our nation’s heritage on the Fourth of July safely.

If discharging fireworks where it is legal to do so:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
  • Always have water handy (a hose or bucket).
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should
  • wear safety glasses.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
  • Do not ever use homemade fireworks of illegal explosives!