BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A Mississippi man accused of using an ax and guns to kill five people in Alabama once survived a car crash that killed two others.
Media reports from 2003 show Derrick Dearman and a woman survived a wreck that killed Larry Hill, 21, and Dennis Carver, 34, in Wilmer, Alabama.
Hill’s mother, Betty Davis of Leakesville, Mississippi, told The Associated Press in an interview Monday the crash survivor is the same person now charged with multiple counts of capital murder.
“He used to stay at my house all the time with Larry,” she said. “He seemed like a pretty good kid back then.”
Now, Davis said, the person she sees on television in connection with the slayings “looks dead.”
“He’s not like he was back then,” she said.
Dearman, of Leakesville, is now 27 and charged in the August slayings of five people in Citronelle, Alabama. Police have said the victims were killed with blows from an ax and gunshots. Dearman has told reporters he was high on methamphetamine at the time of the killings.
Dearman was deeply troubled by watching her son die, Davis said. Dearman wasn’t injured badly in the crash, she said, and Dearman served as a pallbearer at Hill’s funeral a few days later. He was 14 at the time.
An attorney for Dearman, James Vollmer, did not immediately return a message Wednesday, but he previously said he was unaware of the crash.
Davis said Dearman and her son were close, and Dearman “went around crying and acting up” after the wreck, but she doesn’t see how an accident that happened in 2003 could be a factor in a murder case in 2016.
“I don’t felt like he would be traumatized this long,” she said.
State troopers said paper accident reports for a wreck that occurred in 2003 were disposed of years ago, and the state’s electronic database only goes back to 2006.