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Man sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter

Sterling Warren was arrested back in 2013. He is set to stand trial on June 13, 2018.
Sterling Warren was arrested back in 2013. He is set to stand trial on June 13, 2018.

Sterling Warren, 68, was charged with murder after investigators said he shot Thomas Bibb Jr. in the chest.

Posted: Jun 13, 2018 8:51 AM
Updated: Jun 13, 2018 6:45 PM

A Morgan County man accused of shooting a killing a man in August 2013 took a plea bargain.

Sterling Warren, 68, was arrested in August 2013 after Decatur Police said he shot and killed Thomas Bibb Jr., 32, in Warren's home. In the years since his arrest, the trial date has been continued a dozen times.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 10 years on a manslaughter charge. The District attorney anticipated to strike the jury before lunch. During the break, the defense attorney asked if Warren would get an offer for manslaughter.

Easter Bibb, the victim's mother said she's comfortable with Warren serving 10 years because he's a 68-year-old amputee with health issues. Warren will also pay $2,500 for burial expenses of Thomas Bibb Junior.

According to court documents, Bibb was playing a game of dominoes with Warren at his home with another man, William Hudson.

During the preliminary hearing, Decatur Police Investigator Joshua Fisher told the court that on August 2, 2013, Hudson called 911 after Warren reportedly shot Bibb.

Fisher said that when the dispatcher asked who shot Bibb, Warren got on the phone and said, "I did. He was threatening to whoop me in my house."

When officers responded to the house on 4th Avenue SW, they found Bibb lying at the bottom of the stairs with a gunshot wound and Warren in the front yard holding his prosthetic leg in his hand.

Bibb was rushed to the hospital where he died a couple hours later.

Fisher testified that he interviewed Warren who said the night started with a friendly game of dominoes, but when he wanted to call it a night, Bibb refused to leave.

Warren told Fisher that Bibb went out the door, but then came back threatening to "whoop him." Warren reportedly threatened Bibb with an axe handle, at which point, Bibb went back outside.

Fisher notes that Warren told him Bibb came back into the house. Warren said he went into his room and grabbed his .12 gauge shotgun. He told Fisher that Bibb threw a punch at him and missed and that's when Warren shot him.

"He said he was just trying to scare him," Fisher testified.

Fisher added that Hudson said he never saw any punches that were thrown.

Over the next several years, Warren's trial was continued multiple times. The first couple of continuances were to prepare for the trial and gather medical records.

In January 2015, the defense filed its first motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the shooting happened in self-defense and requested an evidentiary hearing to prove it and grant Warren immunity from prosecution.

The judge denied the request in July 2015 stating that the referenced statute applied to deciding which cases are prosecuted. He stated in court filings that immunity is an executive power and "a defendant cannot waive a trial by jury without the consent of the prosecution."

In their motion to reconsider the denial, Warren's attorney submitted the toxicology report for Bibb, which showed that Bibb's blood tested positive for cocaine and other drugs the night he was killed.

The judge denied the motion to reconsider in August 2015.

The trial would be continued five more times through the rest of 2015 and 2016. One of those times in May 2016 involved allowing medical records to be recovered from Bryce Hospital "related to his commitment and/or stay there in the early 1970's."

Another in November 2016 was in order to allow time for a mental evaluation to be completed. It still wasn't complete by March 2017 and the trial was continued again.

During this time, Warren had been in and out of the supervision of the Morgan County Community Correction Pre-Trial Release Program. Warren was put back in jail with no bond after he told the probation officer that he was having problems with his neighbor and claimed that neighbor damaged his car.

Through the evaluation form, the officer said that Warren "stated that he was going to kill his neighbor if he continued damaging his car."

Warren's defense attorney also changed a couple of times over the years: once after an affadavit of hardship was accepted and once when his new attorney was hired by the Office of the City Attorney in Huntsville.

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