2023 in Review: Tuscaloosa County Homicides Lowest in Years, All Cases Solved
Despite kicking off 2023 with one of the bloodiest months in recent memory, police in Tuscaloosa County report a five-year low in homicide investigations this year, if trends continue.
Since the Thread launched in 2020, we have published a list of all homicides assigned to be investigated by the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, a multi-agency task force that eliminates jurisdictional boundaries to effectively investigate homicides, assaults and sex crimes.
As of December 15th, the Unit has investigated 18 homicides in Tuscaloosa County so far this year.
And this achievement comes despite a jarringly violent January, which saw the VCU investigate six homicides in a single month, including a shocking double murder and the nationally reported death of Jamea Harris on the Tuscaloosa Strip.
Captain Jack Kennedy, the commander of the VCU, said they were assigned 13 cases from the Tuscaloosa Police Department, two in Northport and three in Tuscaloosa County.
Kennedy said every single case opened this year has been closed by arrest or presentation to a grand jury - there are no unsolved homicides in 2023, and folks, that is uncharacteristically good police work. In Birmingham, for instance, there were 144 homicides in 2022 - AL.com reported that at year's end, more than half were unsolved.
"I attribute the ongoing success of the unit to the unwavering support of the member agencies, continuous investments in new technology, the sharing of information and resources, and the incredible work ethic of the assigned investigators," Kennedy told the Thread.
The VCU's count does not include the homicide of Walter Rogers, Jr., a patient at Bryce Hospital who died two weeks after he was severely beaten by another patient there - the case was investigated internally and not assigned to the VCU. Rogers' death went unreported until the Thread's investigative report earlier this year.
Review this year's cases below, and for exclusive coverage of crime and courts in West Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.
All Homicides Investigated So Far in Tuscaloosa County in 2023
Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)