Prosecution, defense face issues in capital murder trial

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Dothan (WTVY)-- Prosecutors and defense attorneys must bring their “A-Game” to the trial of a man charged in the death of a Henry County man. That’s because there is not overwhelming evidence of guilt or innocence.

Herman Cunningham, charged with capital murder, is led into a Henry County courtroom on April 9, 2019. Also pictured is Henry County Sheriff's Office Investigator Keith Cauthen.

Herman Cunningham is charged with capital murder and faces the death penalty. He is accused of murdering Apolinar “Poli” Perez Jr. of Abbeville.

While there is circumstantial evidence that links Cunningham to the murder, prosecutors lack tangible evidence. In fact, an autopsy failed to determine the cause of death.

In 2011, Perez took a lunch break from his job at a Dothan restaurant. When he failed to return, investigators began searching for him.

By the time they found his remains in an abandoned refrigerator months later, Cunningham had already been identified as a suspect.

Eventually, prosecutors charged him with Capital Murder though a judge later threw out Cunningham’s indictment due to legal technicalities.

However, another grand jury indicted him again in 2018, clearing the way for this week’s trial.

Now, District Attorney Pat Jones and Assistant District Attorney Sam Clenney must connect the dots in hopes they can obtain a conviction.

Defense attorneys Arthur Medley and Eric Davis will attempt to punch holes in the prosecution’s case. That will be challenging because investigators say they found Perez’s cell phone and car at Cunningham’s home.