20-year-old Charged with Capital Murder in death of Officer Dornell Cousette
Investigators in Tuscaloosa have charged 20-year-old Luther Bernard Watkins with capital murder in connection to the Monday night shooting death of Tuscaloosa Police Officer Dornell Cousette.
Lt. Jack Kennedy, the assistant commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said Cousette was in Tuscaloosa's West End early Monday evening to serve several active warrants on Watkins when the suspect fled into a nearby house. Cousette pursued, and the two exchanged gunfire.
Watkins was injured but escaped the area on foot and was later apprehended during a massive, multi-agency manhunt. Cousette was rushed to DCH Regional Medical Center, where he died Monday night.
Kennedy said Watkins is still being treated for the injuries he sustained Monday night, but declined to say anything about his condition or to disclose where he is being treated, citing safety concerns.
If Watkins survives his injuries, he will be held without bond until his trial for the capital murder charge. If convicted of capital murder, there are only two outcomes for Watkins -- life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
Kennedy said the investigation will be carried out by members of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the Northport Police Department and the University of Alabama Police Department. He said in order to ensure impartiality, no officers from the Tuscaloosa Police Department will be involved in the investigation of Cousette's death.
This story is developing and will be updated.