JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators are hoping you can help them solve a cold case that's been nagging at one investigator for almost 10 years: Who killed James Hutchins?
"I have not received 1 phone call about any suspect or witness in this case, no one has come forward," says Sgt. Ellen Scheirer. "That's really bothered me that this man, regardless of his circumstances, was robbed of his life, and no one has called in and tried to help us solve this."
Scheirer says Hutchins' friends say "He would be the type of person that would've given somebody a ride if they needed it. If you needed groceries or if you needed toilet paper, 1 person said I needed toilet paper and I couldn't drive, he brought me some. He would be that type of person to get up and go out and give somebody a ride."
Investigators know Hutchins was hanging out at a friend's house in the McDonald's Chapel area until about 10:30 on the night of September 23rd, 2007. When he left-- he headed back to the house he shared with his brother and dad in Pleasant grove. Then at 12:22 am on September 24th, 2 hours after he got home, someone called him from a pay phone in the Ensley area.
"My gut tells me that he knew the person who called him from this phone, it wasn't a stranger," Sgt. Scheirer says. "Why else would he get up in the middle of the night and come down here to meet them. Cellphone records show he came to this gas station and that's when Sgt. Scheirer says the killer or killers got in his car and they drove off."
What happened next? That's what investigators hope you can help them figure out because at 7 a.m. the next morning, a man on his way to work found Hutchins' car parked on the side of Tower Road here in the Sandusky community, his body on the ground beside the open driver's side door---shot multiple times.
"There were no signs of any struggle, there were no signs of any robbery," Sgt. Scheirer says. "I believe whoever shot him shot him possibly inside the car then got outside the car and shot him multiple times after he fell to the ground. My gut tells me he was taking them somewhere and at some point they either decided to rob him, and he was shot multiple times which leads me to believe this was very personal. What they did to him was very personal."
Detectives found him dressed in clothing none of his friends could ever remember seeing him wear - dark clothing with a toboggan on his head. It wasn't a particularly cold night, so why was a normally sharp-dresser dressed down?
"Out of the 35-45 people we interviewed, someone knows something or they know the person that did this," Scheirer says. "Maybe they're afraid to come forward, and it's been done for 10 years now and the family needs closure."
Crimestoppers is still offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case. You can call them at (205) 254-7777 or click here: http://crimestoppersmetroal.com/cold-case---hutchins-james-w-july-24-2007.php