BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — (UPDATE, 5/6) According to court records, Joshua Burks was booked in the Jefferson County Jail before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill released the following statement on the death of Troy Ellis:

“We were devastated to hear about the hunting accident and the loss of our precious 5th grade student. Any loss of life is tragic, especially during these times of isolation when we can’t grieve together. The Ellis family and the Cahaba family are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are reaching out to help in any way we can.”

Burks’ attorney, Jonathan McCardle, spoke to CBS 42 about the incident and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office decision to arrest Burks.

“Unfortunately, the Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Office felt they had enough probable cause for a felony manslaughter arrest,” McCardle said. “We are disappointed to hear that. We believe there was no criminal conduct to warrant an arrest at all. It was an absolute accident. Everyone is deeply saddened for the Ellis family.”

According to McCardle, Burks says he thought he saw a turkey in a bush and fired his gun.

McCardle says that Burks’ decision to shoot at the bush was not “absolutely not” related to PTSD or a mental illness. Burks is a veteran and employee of the Mobile County School System.

Burks has since posted bond after surrendering to law enforcement.

CBS 42 spoke to Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr about the charge Wednesday.

“In a legal sense, you can have situations that are accidental that rise to the level of criminality because again, you either have a specific intent to commit a crime or you consciously disregard a risk that you knew or should have known,” said Carr.

While Carr could not get into specifics because of the ongoing investigation, he explained that the decision was made to file the charge based on the facts presented to him from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“We think it is important, based on the facts of the case, which will come out later, that this case was right to be dealt with in a criminal venue, so we decided to go forward with the charge as a reckless charge,” said Carr.


The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has charged a man in the death of an 11-year-old boy on a hunting trip last week.

According to JCSO, Troy Ellis of Trussville was shot and killed May 1 in the 9100 block Cedar Mountain Road. Ellis and his father were apart of a hunting party that went into the woods.

During the hunting, 35-year-old Joshua Stewart Burks fired the fatal shot. The shot also caused minor injury to Ellis’ father who was treated at the scene.

Burks has been charged with reckless manslaughter and is expected to turn himself in, according to JCSO. He will then be placed in the Jefferson County Jail on a $15,000 bond.

A GoFundMe has been set up in honor of Ellis. To make a donation, click here.