Keith found guilty of murder
TALLADEGA — A Talladega County jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Wednesday before finding Cedric Keith, 36, of Childersburg guilty of the murder Magdalene Marbury, his girlfriend.

Keith will be sentenced to 20 to 99 years or life in prison by Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth Dec. 12 at 1 p.m.

After the verdict was read, Keith’s previous bond was automatically revoked. Assistant State Attorney General Bill Lissenby asked Hollingsworth to set a new bond of $1 million, based on Wednesday’s conviction and Keith’s previous conviction for assault in the second degree. Hollingsworth set the bond at $500,000.

According to testimony at the trial, Marbury had been living with Keith in a mobile home just outside Childersburg for several days after getting out of jail. Her sister testified that she and the victim met at a softball game just before the shooting on July 19, 2009. Keith would call Marbury’s cell phone every time she talked to another man while walking with her sister. The calls were on speaker phone, and the sister testified that Keith used obscene language and made threats.

Marbury died from a single gunshot wound to the left side of her head. She also had what appeared to be a defensive wound to her left pinky.

The state argued that Keith killed Marbury out of jealousy.

The defendant gave police at least three different versions of what happened. According to the two officers he spoke with first, he initially said that he and Marbury had been fighting over the gun and it went off.

In his first taped statement, given to Talladega County Sheriff’s Investigator Tony Haynes, he said he had been outside and heard the shot, and did not know who the shooter was.

In a second taped statement given the following day, he said he had gone to get his gun out of the car and tripped while running up the front steps to his mobile home. He fell onto the sofa, accidentally firing the fatal shot. Afterward, he panicked, dropped the gun into his septic tank (where it was later recovered) and went to his sister’s house.

Testimony from law enforcement said the appearance of the room where Marbury’s body was found was not consistent with the fight theory or the tripping theory.

The jury will return to Hollingsworth’s courtroom today to hear a civil case against the city of Talladega.

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© 2012