Man Charged in Death of Teen Appears in Court

A man charged with murder in a wreck that caused the death of a teenage girl made his first court appearance.

Authorities say the suspect, 39-year-old Robert Willis and the victim, 15-year old Whitney Lake had known one another for months.

Andy Hughes, with the Houston Co. Sheriff's Dept. said, "She had been living with his family since the beginning of September."

Officials say Sergeant Tim Ward was making the rounds and noticed a vehicle parked in a rural area with fogged windows.

"We have suspicion to believe that there was sexual contact between Mr. Willis and the victim of this case," Hughes continued.

When Sergeant Ward made a stop at the car, Willis put the car in drive and the pursuit began.

Willis eventually lost control and flipped his vehicle over a bridge, killing Lake.

Willis made his first court appearance Monday via Web cam from the Houston County Jail.

Alabama District Attorney Doug Valeska says a law needs to be made to stop these tragedies. "If you get stopped and you're going to jail, it can't be as bad as facing a murder charge and the death and destruction you bring to other families in this state with their loved ones."

The sheriff's department is working together with Alabama state troopers and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation on the case.

No bond was set for Willis Monday afternoon; however, he has another hearing on Wednesday requested by his attorney to make a 10,000 dollar bond.


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