Landon Durham is a 16-year old Munford, Alabama teenager who is accused in the grisly stabbing deaths of his mother and two siblings. He then went to school after the morning slayings, which were not discovered until Tuesday evening, January 21, 2020, authorities said.
Landon was charged with capital murder on January 22, 2020 in the horrific crimes. “It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen and I’ve been here for 19 years,” said Talladega County Chief Deputy Joshua Tubbs to AL.com. “It’s the worst thing I’ve seen in my career.”
The family murders come just days after another teenager, in Grantsville, Utah, was accused of shooting four family members to death and injuring a fifth. That youth was also charged as an adult.
“I don’t mean this bad, but this is the kind of crime that you see on TV or the media or the internet that happens other places. To have it here, really hits home. Munford, like all communities in this county, is pretty close knit, and I know they are hurting and we are too,” the local District Attorney in Alabama, Steve Giddens, said in a press conference on January 22, 2020. “…It’s just hard to believe these kinds of things can happen.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Durham Is Accused of Stabbing His Twin Brothers to Death in Addition to His Mother With ‘Some Kind of Knife,’ the DA Says
The district attorney explained how authorities learned hours after the slayings about the deaths. “Sometime around late last night (Tuesday, January 21, 2020), we got a report of some people stabbed to death. During the course of the investigation it was determined that Landon Durham… is the person who committed the crimes,” Giddens said in the January 22 press conference. “He was arrested today.”
He said the death penalty doesn’t apply to people under 18 in Alabama but Durham was charged automatically as an adult under state law because he’s 16 and it was a capital offense.
Giddens said he doesn’t know what the motive was. “Some kind of knife” was used as the murder weapon. Landon was the eldest brother of the three siblings. The DA said it looked like the victims were murdered early Tuesday morning.
The Talladega County Sheriff’s Department announced in a press release that the three victims were “found deceased on Roy Lackey Lane in Munford Alabama on January 21, 2020.” The department identified the victims as Holli Christina Durham, age 36, Branson Durham, age 13 and Baron Durham, age 13.
“The cause of death appears to be due to stab wounds,” the department announced.
In the initial statement, authorities said that “a person of interest has been detained for questioning. There is no known threat to the community at this time.”
They asked that anyone with information should call the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 256-761-2141 or leave an anonymous tip at http://www.talladegasheriff.com. The Sheriff’s Department also said there had been inaccurate reports on social media about the stabbing deaths without specifying what they were.
2. Durham Is Accused of Going to School After Stabbing His Family Members to Death
Chillingly, authorities say that Durham went to school after stabbing his three family members to death. He attended Munford High School that Tuesday, the DA confirmed in the press conference.
He was apprehended at a store the next day, a Wednesday, according to Al.com, at around 7:40 a.m. It was not clear what he did in between school and the apprehension.
“He was apprehended at the store across from Beans and Greens Restaurant, without incident,” Sheriff Jeff Shaver told Gadsen Times.
When they were looking for him, authorities warned that Landon “might be armed with knives and swords,” Gadsen Times reported.
A family member discovered the bodies after growing concerned about not hearing from them, AL.com reports.
3. Holli Sometimes Posted About Landon on Social Media
On social media, Holli went by the name Holli Swafford Pierce. She posted a photo with Landon holding his driver’s license in May 2019. “Woowww!! Be safe out there with your new found freedom Landon! Can’t believe these kids are almost grown!! ??,” a friend commented.
Holli responded, “I had no clue how hard it would be to send him driving alone. I cried.”
She posted a group photo of young men with swords, and a friend wrote, “The Mongel Horde?” Since the photo did not have names in the caption, it was hard to tell for sure whether Landon was in that picture.
Holli also posted a photo with her three boys, writing, last Mother’s Day, “My babies ❤️” A photo last April showed the three boys in matching shirts.
In February 2019, she wrote of Landon, “How is he 16 tomorrow? Time really does fly.” Holli wrote on Facebook that she was engaged to Ben Pierce, and she posted many photos showing her and the boys with him. In 2015, she posted a photo of the boys holding a sign that read, “Ben said yes, so did we.”
4. Landon’s Dad Is an Army Recruiter Who Served in Afghanistan
Landon’s dad says on Facebook that he’s a recruiter with the U.S. Army. He said that he was formerly an airborne infantryman in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning and a former Indirect Fire Infantryman at the 4th Infantry Division.
He also served as an Airborne Infantryman at 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. The dad lives in Texas but is from Talladega, Alabama, according to his Facebook page.
Some of his photos show him in Afghanistan. He posted a photo with the three boys on Facebook.
5. Another Teenager Is Accused of Killing His Family in Utah
In an unrelated incident, a different teenager is accused in Grantsville, Utah of shooting to death his mother, three siblings, and attempting to murder his father.
That family homicide occurred on Friday, January 17, 2020. Authorities in Utah released his name as Colin Jeffrey Haynie, 16.
Vigils have been held in the community. The motive for those deaths is also not clear.
In Alabama, the Talladega County Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Lacey released the following statement, according to WAFF-TV:
“Last night, we learned of a tragedy in the Munford community. Like any small town, when tragedy strikes it effects the entire community including the school community. Our focus is to support the school family during this difficult time. We have additional counselors available to provide a helping hand and listening ear to our Munford students and staff.”
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