An Abbeville man whose first capital murder trial ended in mistrial will go before a jury again next spring.
Circuit Judge Larry Anderson set an April 13, 2020, trial date for Herman Cunningham Jr., of Abbeville, who faces capital murder charges in the 2011 slaying of 21-year-old Apolinar “Poli” Perez Jr.
In May, a Henry County jury deliberating the capital murder case and failed to reach a verdict.
A Henry County grand jury indicted Cunningham, who is accused of causing the death of Perez by deadly sharp force trauma.
The indictment stated the grand jury believes during the time of the murder Cunningham was in the course of committing a theft by stealing a vehicle that belonged to Perez.
Henry County Sheriff's deputies originally arrested Cunningham in May 2011 on a felony first-degree theft of property charge for allegedly stealing a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis belonging to Perez. Deputies found Perez’s car and cell phone at Cunningham’s home during their investigation.
Henry County Sheriff Will Maddox earlier told the Dothan Eagle that deputies found Perez’s remains in January 2013 in a refrigerator thrown into a gully off of Alabama Highway 95 North. The remains were sent off for DNA testing and an autopsy to determine identification and cause of death.
“There were some stab wounds, but we don’t really know exactly how he died or what weapon was used,” Maddox said.
Some of the evidence for the capital murder charge was based on text messages they found between the victim and Cunningham, planning a meeting together at Cunningham’s home. They were meeting to purchase some type of pills, Maddox said.
In a previous interview with the Dothan Eagle, defense attorney Arthur Medley stated he is “amazed” his client’s case went before a grand jury twice, and is more surprised his client is facing capital murder charges for the death of Perez.
“The state pathologist report clearly stated cause of death is unknown,” Medley said.