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April 5, 2022

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Announces Death Sentence of Lamar County Man Convicted of Capital Murder

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that Brandon Dewayne Sykes, age 40, of Lamar County, has been sentenced to death for the 2015 capital murder of his ex-wife, Keisha Nicole Sykes. Lamar County Circuit Court Judge Samuel Junkin sentenced Sykes to death Tuesday based on a Lamar County jury’s previous verdict to impose the death penalty in this case.

The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division and District Attorney Andy Hamlin of the 24th Judicial Circuit. Sykes was found guilty of three counts of capital murder on February 22, 2022, by a jury in Lamar County Circuit Court following a ten-day trial. The State presented evidence that Sykes murdered his ex-wife, who was 29 years old, during the course of a burglary, kidnapping, and robbery. He then disposed of her body which has never been recovered.

During the trial, the State presented forensic evidence that Keisha Sykes’s blood was found throughout her house and that a small piece of her flesh discovered in the yard. Evidence was presented showing that a forcible entry was made through a rear bedroom window of Keisha Sykes’s house and that her car and phone were stolen. Several days later, Keisha Sykes’s car was found burned and abandoned and Brandon Sykes was found to be in possession of her phone. Two witnesses also testified that Sykes confessed to them that he had killed his former wife.

During the sentencing phase of trial, the jury voted to impose the death penalty by a unanimous 12-0 verdict on February 23, 2022, after the State proved four aggravating circumstances: that Sykes committed the murder during the course of a burglary, that Sykes committed the murder during the course of a kidnapping, that Sykes committed the murder during the course of a robbery, and that Sykes committed the murder while he was under a sentence of imprisonment from a previous assault conviction.

“Mr. Sykes murdered his ex-wife in cold blood and a jury of his peers in Lamar County correctly rendered a just verdict of death, which was upheld by Judge Junkin today,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Justice was delivered today.”

Attorney General Marshall commended Assistant Attorneys General Kenneth Gibbs and Katie Langer, Special Agents of the Attorney General’s Investigative Division, the Attorney General’s Office of Victim Assistance, District Attorney Andy Hamlin and the prosecutors and staff of the 24th Judicial Circuit, for their hard work in prosecuting this case. He also recognized the Vernon Police Department, the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, and the Lamar County
Sheriff’s Office for their invaluable support of the prosecution team.

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The primary duty of the Attorney General is to serve as legal counsel to Alabama's state agencies, departments, and officers. Our office is prohibited by law from providing private citizens with legal advice, representation, or opinions (Code of Alabama, 1975, Title 36, Chapter 15). The Attorney General's Office does not handle any domestic cases (example: child support, child custody, divorce, etc.) or probate matters (real estate, wills, property disputes, etc.). To obtain an attorney or legal aid referral, you may contact the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at http://www.alabar.org or by calling 1-800-392-5660 .