Prosecutor: Suspect's Death Won't Affect Cold Case

ANDALUSIA, Ala. (AP) -- A prosecutor says the death of a defendant who faced a murder charge in the 20-year-old killing of a business owner will not affect the prosecution of the other three suspects.

The Andalusia Star-News reports that 57-year-old Sheila Ellison Brooks died of natural causes over the weekend. She was being held in the Covington County Jail since her indictment on murder and robbery charges in December.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said her death will not affect the strength of the evidence in the case, as she had not cooperated with investigators.

The three surviving defendants face murder and other charges in the May 1994 killing of James "Nibby" Barton.

He was found dead behind the counter of his convenience store.

A cold case task force reopened the case in February 2013.

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