New legal developments in case against man accused of killing Tuscaloosa police officer

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 8:01 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A major development in the case against a man accused of murdering a Tuscaloosa police officer almost 4 years ago.

Tuscaloosa County court records show suspect Luther Watkins has been found ‘competent to stand trial’ for the alleged murder of Officer Dornell Cousette.

The general sense from those involved in the investigation and those who knew Officer Cousette are pleased the case is moving forward towards justice.

It was September 16, 2019 when Tuscaloosa Police Officer Dornell Cousette was shot and killed. Authorities at the time said Luther Watkins shot Officer Cousette after the officer and a bondsman attempted to serve outstanding warrants against him.

“A lot of tears,” Kip Tyner said.

Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner remembers that night all too well. Now, Tyner said the latest development declaring Luther Watkins competent to stand trial is a significant step forward, but a somber one.

“I also feel for the family accused because you know anytime something like this happens you want to strike out in anger, but you have to think the mother or grandmother in their life who are hurting terribly, but when you think of both of those, it’s a ruling you wanted to hear but there is no happiness,” Tyner said.

Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb declined an interview, but did say they will ‘continue their preparations for trial.’

The suspect’s attorney, Jim Standridge, said the case could go to trial later this year.

Luther Watkins was 20 years old at the time of the alleged shooting. He is now 23.

The capital murder charge against Watkins remains in place. He is in jail with no bond.

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