Fleming, 89, was found stabbed to death in her Wellborn home Wednesday morning.
Anniston police investigators say she hired Walter Craig Pinkston, 32, and Monica Marie Shively, 30, both of Anniston, to help with chores such as yard work. Fleming’s son, Wayne Fleming, says he’s confident the two suspects approached his mother for the work and she agreed simply to help them.
“My mother was a caring person who always helped those less fortunate ... I hope they can make their peace with God,” he said.
Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh said Thursday that Pinkston and Shively are charged with capital murder during the commission of a burglary. He added that a grand jury will decide whether the suspects also will be charged with committing murder during a robbery or kidnapping.
McVeigh said items were taken from the elderly woman’s home, but he would not elaborate on what was stolen.
Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown pronounced Alma Fleming dead around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at her home on the 500 block of South Stebbins Street in Wellborn. An autopsy revealed Fleming had been stabbed multiple times in the chest, according to Brown. He said the attack likely happened Monday night.
Wayne Fleming, who lives in Birmingham, said he and his wife discovered his mother Wednesday morning and called police. According to the son, he and his wife were there to visit his mother to help plan her 90th birthday celebration, which would have been Oct. 21. Wayne Fleming said they had to break down his mother’s home when there was no answer at the door.
Anniston police arrested Pinkston and Shively on Wednesday afternoon at the State Trooper post in Jacksonville, where Pinkston was getting his driver’s license reinstated, according to Anniston police Capt. Allen George.
Pinkston and Shively both were were being held in the Calhoun County Jail on Thursday afternoon. No bond had been set.
Wayne Fleming said his mother and father, Alvin B. Fleming, moved to Wellborn in the early 1950s when his father took a job at M&H Valve. According to her son, Alma Fleming had lived on the same plot of land since they moved there.
Her neighbors say her death has been a shock to the community.
“It’s unreal for us,” said Brittany Weldon, who had lived across the street from Fleming for a month. “I don’t see how anyone could do that.”
She said she can’t understand why there would be a need to kill the woman. Fleming was too frail to pose any threat to burglars, she said.
Weldon and her husband, Jesse, described Fleming as a nice woman who often tended her own garden despite having to use a walker.
Brittany Weldon said she remembers Fleming coming to their home to offer them peppers she had grown.
“She was really sweet,” she said.
Weldon said everybody in the neighborhood knew Fleming was a month away from turning 90, and neighbors had been talking about a party.
“She was always real nice,” Jesse Weldon said of Fleming. “She certainly didn’t deserve all that.”
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.