Published 1:34 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

From the 1996 murder of three Brewton area men to the 2018 parole hearing for the man convicted of the crimes, this time line tracks the movement of the case. Although some published accounts of the proceedings through the years may have been lost, the following time line is accurate based on information found in avenues currently available.

Nov. 20, 1996: Richard Cary, 52, owner of Cary’s Grocery on Conecuh County Road 6 in the Brooklyn Community, is found dead along with Donald Scott Williams, 39, an employee at the store and 13-year-old Timothy Bryan Crane Jr. No suspect in the triple slaying that was initially thought to be a botched robbery was immediately reported. According to evidence in the initial investigation, the death’s occurred between 8:02 p.m., the last time stamp on the cash register journal, and 8:16 p.m. when Cary’s son, Brad, heard gunshots and subsequently discovered the bodies of the victims. Evergreen police were called to the scene. The Cary home was about 50 feet from the store, officials said. Crane and Cary were outside of the store while Williams’ body was found inside the store near the cash register, reports stated.

Nov. 27, 1996: Still no suspect in the case that left three people dead in the Brooklyn community just inside Conecuh County. Conecuh County District Attorney Tommy Chapman was quoted to say victims were shot at close range using at least three weapons. Ethan Eugene Dorsey and Calvin Middleton were targeted as suspects in the triple murder and were charged with the deaths in early 1997.

February 1998: In a decision by a jury, Dorsey was convicted in the deaths of Williams, Cary and Crane along with Middleton. Middleton agreed to testify against Dorsey in the case if the district attorney agreed not to seek the death penalty for his part in the crime. In published reports at the time of the trial, Middleton testified that he and Dorsey had planned the robbery because both of them were unemployed and needed money. Middleton also testified that his gun fired accidentally when Cary struggled during the robbery. He claimed to run then “because I was scared.” Middleton also testified that Dorsey caught up to him moments later and stated he had killed Crane when he tried to run and then had killed Williams. Dorsey was found guilty of intentional murder of Crane during a robbery — the only conviction which would quality him for the death penalty and capital murder in the death of someone under 14. He was also found guilty of felony murder in the deaths of Cary and Williams.

May 2001: The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously approved the capital murder conviction and death sentence for Dorsey.

April 2003: The state Supreme Court threw out the capital murder conviction sparing him the death penalty. But the court, in a 5-4 ruling, agreed with an Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that Ethan Eugene Dorsey’s felony murder convictions in the case should stand.

July 2013: Dorsey was considered for parole by a three-member team for the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole in Montgomery. It was denied.

October 2018: Dorsey will be considered for parole by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole.