The capital murder trial of Jeff McKelvey is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 12, in Criminal Court in Guntersville. It will be the first capital trial in Marshall County since 2012, when Jessie Phillips was convicted of the 2009 shooting deaths of his wife and their unborn child in a carwash at Warrenton.
McKelvey is charged with killing Denie and Pam Tucker during a robbery of their home on Pea Ridge Road near Asbury. According to past testimony at hearings in the case, McKelvey approached Denie Tucker at the Cracker Barrel in Cullman with a fake story about how he didn’t have money and was trying to go check on his daughter who’d been in a wreck.
Denie gave him $60. The stranger insisted he wanted to repay him. Denie gave McKelvey a business card with his address on it.
McKelvey and an associate, Henry Pyle, later went to the Tuckers’ home to rob them. Pyle pled guilty earlier and is serving a life sentence. He is expected to be a key witness at the trial.
It would likely take at least two days to select a jury for the case, possibly longer, meaning opening statements and testimony could start on Wednesday or Thursday following jury selection.
Marshall County District Attorney Everett Johnson and Chief Assistant District Attorney Ed Kellett will prosecute the case. Johnson said they intend to seek the death penalty. The defense attorneys are Brian White of Decatur and Kevin Hanson of Albertville.
The Tuckers’ deaths occurred in September of 2015. A fingerprint on the door of the Tuckers’ home led police to McKelvey.
McKelvey, who lived in Decatur, had a criminal past. Prosecutors said previously he had been in and out of prison.