Four charged with capital murder in contract killing of businessman

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Four people face capital murder charges in the alleged contract killing of a man who was gunned down at his north Alabama home in July, police said Wednesday.

A woman was charged with solicitation to commit capital murder in the shooting death of 41-year-old Anthony Larry Sheppard of Hartselle, authorities told a news conference, and three men are charged with capital murder in the slaying itself.

The man was found dead from multiple gunshots just inside his front door on July 24, court records show.

Authorities allege Jaclyn Elaine Skuce, 38, got one of the men to kill Sheppard, a businessman with whom she had a relationship, but they would’t elaborate on any alleged motive.

Skuce was jailed without bond on the capital charge, as were Logan McKinley Delp, 38; Aaron Carter Howard, 39; and Lajuhn Keith Smart, 23.

Delp told investigators he was hired by Skuce to kill Sheppard, and that Howard, Smart and a woman went with him, court documents showed. Questioned by police, Skuce admitted that she hired Delp to kill Sheppard, according to a sworn statement by an investigator.

Court records did not list defense attorneys for any of the defendants, and police said at least one more arrest was likely.

Sheppard’s slaying was the first homicide in Hartselle since 2006.