West Alabama Man Sentenced to Death for 2015 Murder of Ex-Wife
A Lamar County man was sentenced to death this week after a jury found him guilty of his ex-wife's murder, District Attorney Andy Hamlin announced Wednesday.
Hamlin said the suspect, a 40-year-old Vernon, Alabama man named Brandon Sykes, is believed to have killed his ex-wife in 2015. The victim was a 29-year-old mother of three, Hamlin said, and her body was never discovered.
The victim, Keisha Sykes, vanished from her home in Vernon, Alabama in February 2015, but her vehicle was found days later, burned and abandoned near New Hope, Mississippi.
Investigators also found her blood in her home and in the bed of Brandon Syke's truck, and Hamlin said there are cell phone records and other data that helped prove his guilt.
He was arrested three months after her disappearance and charged with capital murder.
The case was investigated by Vernon Police Department, the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation.
“The different departments worked together and did an excellent job of piecing the evidence together, "Hamlin said. "My hat is off to them for all of the hard work and efforts."
Hamlin and two Alabama Assistant Attorneys General, Kenneth Gibbs and Katie Langer, prosecuted the case and earned the guilty verdict this week.
“This verdict and sentence signifies justice for Keisha and her family. My hope is that it helps them find some measure of closure,” Hamlin said. “They have waited a very long time for this.”
Sykes' trial lasted three weeks, Hamlin said, and he was found guilty Tuesday. The jury reconvened Wednesday and deliberated briefly before sentencing him to death.
“I appreciate the jury’s careful deliberation,” Hamlin said. “This was a challenging case in that Ms. Sykes’ body has never been found. But the evidence very clearly shows the defendant committed this murder, and went to great lengths to cover it up.”