A McCalla man convicted of murder for the brutal 2019 killing of a Jefferson County woman has been sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors announced Wednesday morning.

The perpetrator, Kendal Tyler Battles, who goes by Tyler, was found guilty of murder in September and has been awaiting his sentence since the verdict was reached.

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The judge presiding over the case, Circuit Judge James H. Roberts, Jr., passed down a life sentence Wednesday morning. Webb said the sentence does not preclude the possibility of parole, so the 31-year-old man may not stay behind bars for the rest of his life.

Battles is one of four people charged with the brutal July 2019 murder of Willoe Watkins, who was beaten and strangled to death when she was 20 years old. Her body was then hidden at the bottom of a well in a rural area of Tuscaloosa County.

After a member of Battles' family tipped police off to the location of the body, investigators excavated the well and recovered Watkins' corpse.

Police eventually arrested Tyler Battles and his wife Monic Battles as well as Joseph Nevels and Devin Hall in connection to the killing. All four were charged with murder, and the three men were charged with abuse of a corpse.

Investigators later said Nevels attacked Watkins over a missing cellphone he believed she had stolen months before and the rest of the group joined in, beating her with a shotgun and baseball bat. Hall also allegedly strangled her with a cord.

Webb said Hall accepted a deal from the DA's office and pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence.

Monic Battles and Nevels are still awaiting trial.

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