Jimmy Ray Steed, 52, was indicted by a Calhoun County grand jury in August in connection with the death of Carla Cook Fuqua, who was last seen alive at her Piedmont home on Oct. 29, 2009. Investigators from the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office and Cold Case Unit discovered Fuqua’s skeletal remains Dec. 4, 2012 in woods a short drive from Steed’s and Fuqua’s homes on Alabama 21.
A frail-looking Steed answered Calhoun County Circuit Judge Bud Turner’s questions in whispers during his arraignment this morning.
According to the grand jury indictment, Steed reportedly killed Fuqua on or about the day she went missing by striking her with a bat or bat-like object.
The victim’s mother, Darlene Cook, attended the hearing with family. Cook said she was expecting a not-guilty plea, and as difficult as she believes it will be, she is ready for the trial.
“I wanted to see him eye to eye,” Cook said, referring to Steed during today’s hearing.
Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson has said Steed also is a suspect in the cases of three other people missing from Piedmont.
Patrick Burrows disappeared Aug. 23, 1990. He was last seen driving his motorcycle from Steed’s home at 8 a.m. The motorcycle was later found in a pond half a mile from Steed’s home, and a short distance from where Fuqua’s remains were found.
Jeffery Scott McFry, 24, was last seen in his mother’s home on Sept. 5, 1990. Police received numerous tips about possible location of McFry’s remains, but to date have found nothing.
Steed’s wife, Karen Steed, 29, was last seen Nov. 25, 1997 leaving their Piedmont home. One month after she went missing, her 1982 Ford Fairmont was found abandoned on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 20 near Heflin.
No date for Steed’s trial had been set as of this morning.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.