Brewton murder suspect surrenders

Published 8:08 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Brewton man wanted in connection with the shooting death on the “Dolly Parton Bridge” on I-65 turned himself into authorities Saturday night.
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said Joseph Ryan Carter, 30, was taken into custody without incident at 7:30 p.m.
“Mr. Carter surrendered himself to investigators with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office,” Lambert said.
Carter was wanted by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s office for the first-degree murder of 44-year-old Joe Nathan Thomas Jr. He had been the subject of a multi-county manhunt since Thursday.
Thomas Jr., a resident of Mill Pond Road in Brewton, was found shot to death on I-65 North just south of the bridge just after 2 a.m. Thursday.
The victim of a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, Thomas was discovered after a female witness – who said she was riding inside the vehicle with the two men when the shooting occurred – called 911. The unidentified female stated the two men were outside the car arguing when she heard a shot and saw Thomas Jr. fall to the ground. She then fled into the woods on foot before contacting police. At present, she is not facing charges in the incident.
Carter and Thomas are no strangers to the law. Brewton Standard archives show Carter was one of 11 arrested in an East Brewton drug round up in 2014 while Thomas is a convicted sex offender. He was convicted in 2001 for the rape of a 10-year-old girl in Escambia County.
Carter was booked into the Escambia County Detention Center to await Mobile County authorities.