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.