Capital murder warrant issued in killing of Alabama sheriff

Members of the Lowndes County Sheriff's office are overcome with emotion as the 'end of watch' is dispatched over the air, ending the memorial service for slain Lowndes County Sheriff "Big John" Williams, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Prosecutors are upgrading the charge against a teenager suspected in the shooting death of an Alabama sheriff, making him eligible for the death penalty.

News outlets report that District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said Tuesday a capital murder warrant has been signed against William Chase Johnson, 18, in the slaying of Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams.

The new charge carries a possible death penalty, while the original charge of murder has a maximum sentence of life.

Williams was shot to death at a gas station late last month. More than 2,000 people filled an auditorium for his funeral Monday.

Johnson is the son of a sheriff's deputy in neighboring Montgomery County. He hasn't entered a plea in the case.