Earnest James Files Jr., 56, of Alexander City and Charles Andrew Joseph Hendrix, 21, of Birmingham both had initial court appearances Tuesday afternoon before Talladega County Circuit Judge Julian King. Files was formally charged with one count each of criminal solicitation of murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Hendrix was charged with two counts of capital murder committed during a burglary in the first degree. Hendrix was also charged with one count of theft of property in the first degree, for allegedly stealing a 2009 GMC Yukon that belonged to Lazenby.
King set Files’ bond at $1 million. Hendrix’s bond in the theft case was set at $500,000, but because he is facing capital charges, he will not be allowed to post a bond on the murder counts.
Files and Hendrix bring the total number of arrests in connection with the Lazenby murder to four. Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing.
Ocie Lynch, 30, also of Birmingham, was arrested in January and charged with the same two capital murder counts as Hendrix. Shortly afterward, Calvin McCall Haynes, 30, of Birmingham was also charged with solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder.
Although law enforcement officials are releasing few details of the alleged crimes, there is a reference to Files in Lazenby’s and wife Geanne’s divorce battle.
On June 8, 2011, Lazenby gave notice that he would be subpoenaing the Coosa County Sheriff’s Department and requesting “any and all information, including but not limited to police reports, accident reports, 911 tapes, audio, videotape or handwritten statements, memoranda, correspondence, witness statements, witness lists, photographs and/or videotapes, or any other information or documents relating to and arising out of any and all investigations relating to any and all allegations or any and all claims made by Geanne Lazenby against Earnest Files, (date of birth) Oct. 31, 1955.”
The same document demanded medical records and billing statements from Alabama Women’s Specialists and Craddock Clinic.
Geanne Lazenby’s attorneys opposed the subpoenas, and the issue was never resolved.
According to documents obtained through the Coosa County Sheriff’s Department, Geanne Lazenby, who was living in Alexander City, filed a harassing communications and criminal trespass complaint against Files on March 28, 2011. According to her complaint, Files called her cell phone more than 100 times in less than a week, including once while a deputy was taking her statement. She said she had repeatedly told him not to call her, and added that he had visited her home on two occasions in spite of being told not to come by, either.
Files turned himself in for harassing communications and posted a $500 bond on April 1.
The case was dismissed “with leave to reinstate” on May 25, and Files was ordered to have no further contact with Geanne Lazenby.
Giddens said Hendrix had been arrested Friday night on a warrant issued Jan. 3.
The warrant for Files was issued Friday and served on him in court Tuesday afternoon. He had been in the Tallapoosa County Jail up until Tuesday morning.
The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on what Files’ charges were there.
Lazenby’s body was discovered at his home on Stone Hill Road in Sylacauga July 27. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds. The body was discovered when police in Tarrant traced the Yukon, which had been badly burned, back to Lazenby.
He was a partner in the law firm of Wooten, Thornton, Carpenter, O’Brien, Lazenby and Lawrence in Talladega.
Solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder are Class A felonies in Alabama, punishable upon conviction by 10 to 99 years or life in prison. Conviction for capital murder carries a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.