WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Walker County family finally has some closure after the murder of their son nearly a decade ago.
Friday, the Alabama Attorney General’s office announced two people were arrested for the killing of Eric Cates in 2015. Joshua Franklin Hill and Cyrena Cheyenne Styles were each charged with one count of murder, and if convicted, they face up to life in prison.
Their arrests are the news Eric’s mother Tobbie Stover has been hoping for.
“He was a good kid, a good son … He would do anything for you,” Stover said.
On March 21, 2015, 32-year-old Eric Cates and his beloved dog Gypsy were found dead in a truck set on fire behind the old Empire school.
According to indictment documents, Hill and Styles hit Cates with a blunt object and then set his truck on fire with him and his dog inside. Hill has no bond set under Aniah’s Law, and Styles’ bond has tentatively been set at $60,000 with an official bond hearing scheduled for later this week.
Stover said she never stopped for a second fighting for justice and for the case to be solved before it went cold forever.
“Eric and Gypsy died a horrible, horrific death. There was soot in Eric’s lungs and in Gypsy’s lungs, so that means that they were still breathing and they were set on fire,” Stover said.
Stover also said she tried to get answers from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office for years to no end until the Attorney General’s office cold case unit took over the investigation two years ago.
“I was overwhelmed Friday when they did the arrests, and after hearing the Aniah’s bond, the relief is there, we’re finally getting somewhere after eight and a half years,” Stover said.
CBS42 reached out to the attorney general’s office who said they couldn’t comment on the case right now.