'How many lives did I end tonight?'
Feb. 7—When deputies arrived near Falkville on Sunday evening in response to a 911 call, they found Joshua Lamar Knighten sprawled on the ground saying he "did not mean to," another man dead in a vehicle and a third man in the residence with multiple gunshot wounds. A fourth person, with critical injuries, later arrived at the Falkville Police Department.
"How many lives did I end tonight?" Knighten asked Morgan County sheriff's Cpl. Jacob Raburn as he was placed in a patrol vehicle, according to an affidavit by Investigator Caleb Brooks.
Knighten was charged early Monday with capital murder in the shooting death of Mitchell Ray Beard, 62, of Falkville, who Coroner Jeffrey Chunn declared dead at the scene. Beard had multiple gunshot wounds, according to Brooks' affidavit. No charges had been filed as of Monday evening in connection with the other two shootings allegedly committed by Knighten.
The two other shooting victims had life-threatening injuries, according to the Sheriff's Office, and were transported by medical helicopter to Huntsville Hospital. The Sheriff's Office had not released their names as of Monday evening.
Knighten, 35, is in Morgan County Jail and being held without bond. He was booked into jail at 1:50 a.m. Monday, according to jail records. The capital murder charge alleges he shot Beard to death while Beard was inside a vehicle.
The shootings took place at 53 SE Goodwin Road, off Wilhite Road. According to sheriff's spokesman Mike Swafford, Knighten was living at the Goodwin Road address. Court records also list his residence as 5019 County Road 434 in Trinity.
In addition to Knighten, Beard, and the injured man inside, deputies found another man standing in the yard. He was questioned and released, according to Brooks' affidavit.
The deputies received a dispatch while at the Goodwin Road site advising that the other shooting victim had left the scene before deputies arrived and was at the Falkville Police Department with critical injuries.
According to Brooks, deputies found a 9mm Glock-19 pistol on the driveway of the Goodwin Road residence. Knighten advised deputies that another firearm was inside the residence, where they found a Springfield XDM Elite 9mm pistol.
Knighten called 911 after the shooting and told the dispatcher, "They are going to lock me up for the rest of my life," according to Brooks' affidavit.
If convicted of capital murder, his sentence will either be death or life without the possibility of parole.
Morgan County District Judge Kevin Kusta appointed Decatur attorneys Brent Burney and Brian White to represent Knighten after the defendant filed an affidavit saying he was indigent.
On Monday afternoon, Burney filed a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client. He also filed a motion requesting a preliminary hearing in the case, although one had not been scheduled as of Monday evening.
Burney on Monday afternoon said he and White had not met with their client, but planned to later in the day.
Knighten was previously charged with third-degree assault in Lawrence County, but according to court records the charge was dismissed at the request of the Lawrence County District Attorney's Office in 2015 when the alleged victim refused to testify.
Knighten was charged in Limestone County with third-degree theft in 2009 and after pleading guilty was sentenced in 2010 to two years of unsupervised probation, according to court records. His probation was revoked when he allegedly stole $1,940 worth of "knives, tools, jewelry and a bottle of wine" and served a year in jail, according to a court order. At that time he resided in Athens, according to court records.
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