FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2018
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General
AG Announces Court of Criminal Appeals Upholds Capital
Murder and Murder Convictions in Two Jefferson County Cases
(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that on Friday
the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the capital murder convictions of
Stevin Ra Dunning and the murder conviction of Tarus Hawkins. Both cases, which are
unrelated, occurred in Jefferson County.
Dunning, 25, of Birmingham, was convicted in December 2016 for the murder of
Vincent Chancellor. The evidence at trial showed that in the early morning hours of
November 9, 2014, Chancellor and his girlfriend left a nightclub in Birmingham and
drove to a nearby restaurant where Chancellor got out of the vehicle to order food.
When Chancellor returned, Dunning approached him, brandished a gun, and
demanded that Chancellor give him everything he had. Chancellor gave Dunning his
cellular telephone and the money he had in his pockets. Dunning then ordered
Chancellor to give him any valuables that were inside the car. As Chancellor began to
unhook a television set installed in the car, he retrieved a gun under the seat that he
kept in the car. The two men shot at each other and both were wounded during the
exchange. Chancellor then stumbled to his car and drove away but was only able to
drive a short distance before losing consciousness. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter
and took Chancellor to the hospital where he died later that day as a result of the
Because the murder was committed during the course of a first-degree robbery;
the victim was killed while in a vehicle; and, Dunning killed the victim by firing a gun
within a vehicle, Dunning was convicted of three capital offenses. He was sentenced to
life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for each conviction.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
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In the second case, Tarus Hawkins, 32, of Bessemer, was convicted in
May 2017 for the murder of Henry Toles. On the evening of May 12, 2015, Toles and his
girlfriend, Galencia Baker, drove to the Wylam Junction Convenience Store to see Toles’
cousin. Toles went inside the store. After waiting a few minutes, Baker went inside also.
When Baker came back out, she saw a girl she knew sitting in a white car and went over
to talk to the girl. Hawkins was standing outside the front passenger side of the car.
Baker testified that when she approached the car, Hawkins said something like she
“spooked” him. Toles came out of the store and asked Baker what Hawkins said to her.
After a verbal exchange between Toles and Hawkins about what Hawkins said to
Baker, Toles and Baker turned and walked toward their car. Without warning, Hawkins
shot Toles in the back. Toles died of the gunshot wounds. Hawkins was sentenced to 40
years’ imprisonment for his murder conviction.
Both cases were prosecuted at trial by Jefferson County District Attorney Mike
Anderton’s office. Each defendant was seeking to have his convictions reversed on
The Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division handled the cases during the
appeals process, arguing for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm the
convictions. The Court did so in decisions issued Friday. Attorney General Marshall
commended Criminal Appeals Division Chief Beth Slate Poe and Assistant Attorney
General Yvonne Saxon for their successful work in these cases.