For Immediate Release:
October 13, 2023
For press inquiries only, contact:
Amanda Priest (334) 322-5694
Cameron Mixon (334) 242-7491
(Montgomery) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall today announced the indictments of Joshua Franklin Hill, 33, of Walker County and Cyrena Cheyenne Styles, 28, of Walker County for the 2015 death of Eric Cates. Cates and his dog, Gypsy, were found deceased in the Empire community on March 21, 2015. Hill and Styles were each indicted on one count of murder. The indictments were served, and defendants arrested on Friday, October 13. Styles was arrested by the Sumiton Police Department, and Hill was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
On October 5, 2023, Attorney General Marshall’s Special Prosecutions and Criminal Trials Divisions, in partnership with the Sumiton Police Department and former agents of Walker County Sheriff’s Office, presented evidence to a Walker County grand jury which resulted in Hill’s indictment on one count of murder and Styles’ indictment on one count of murder. The Attorney General’s Office investigated the case at the request of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office.
If convicted of murder, a Class A felony, both Hill and Styles would face a range of punishment from not less than 10 years to not more than 99 years or life imprisonment.
Due to the possibility of additional suspects, no other information about the investigation or the defendant’s alleged crimes can be released at this time.