Vernon man found guilty of murdering ex-wife who disappeared in 2015
VERNON, Ala. (WCBI) – Tuesday, a jury in Lamar County Circuit Court found Brandon Sykes guilty on three counts of capital murder in connection with the death of his ex-wife.
While investigators still haven’t found her body, the district attorney believed there was enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Sykes was found guilty of capital murder committed during the course of a burglary, capital murder committed during the course of a kidnapping and capital murder committed during the course of a robbery in the death of Keshia Turner.
It’s a verdict that her family has waited seven years to hear.
“It’s been really hard for us,” says her grandmother Billie Nalls. “I’m just so glad to know that this time has come and everything went good. We just want justice.”
On February 19th, 2015, the 29-year-old mother of three told her family she was going to run errands and never returned. A week later, the burned-out remains of her 2001 Honda Civic were found in the New Hope area. A Lamar County Grand Jury would indict Sykes on capital murder charges about 3 months after that.
“I feel like the evidence we got did lead to him,” Nalls says. “I’m very satisfied with it.”
The prosecution’s closing argument centered around the significant amount of Turner’s blood found at the scene and the lengths they say Sykes went to dispose of her car.
District Attorney Andrew Hamlin says parts of Turner’s Old Highway 18 home in Vernon, Alabama were soaked with her blood. Investigators later found that same blood in the bed of Sykes truck.
“It’s very hurtful to know what we have learned (during the investigation),” Nalls says.
Hamlin says one witness testified to seeing Sykes carrying a gas can and lighter in the area where they found the burned car. Another claims Sykes confessed to killing his ex-wife just days after she disappeared.
“It really was hard when it first happened,” Nalls says. “Over the years we’re learning more to live with it, but it’s still hard.”
Sykes faces either the death penalty or life without parole.
“Both families are going through pain,” Turner’s cousin Randall Nalls says. “But we’re missing a loved one that will never return to us, so we would like to see this never happen again to any other family.”
Billie says there is just one thing she would ask of Sykes.
“I would like for him to tell us where her body is. Give us justice,” she says. “I would like for him to give us justice if he could, but you know, that’s up to him.”
Sentencing is set for Wednesday at 9 a.m.
WCBI reached out to Sykes’ attorney, but he declined to comment.
This was the first capital murder trial in Lamar County in at least 16 years.