Second suspect surrenders in murder of former Alabama football p - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Second suspect surrenders in murder of former Alabama football player

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Eric Simmons (Source: Greenville Police Department) Eric Simmons (Source: Greenville Police Department)
Samarjay Peterson (Source: Greenville Police Department) Samarjay Peterson (Source: Greenville Police Department)
Ozell Powell (Source: UA's 1994 Athletics guide) Ozell Powell (Source: UA's 1994 Athletics guide)

Investigators with the Greenville Police Department say they're confident they have the two men responsible for a fatal shooting in custody as the community continues to mourn the victim, a former University of Alabama football and Greenville High School all-state player.

The Greenville Police Department says Ozell Powell, 40, was shot twice in the chest at his apartment at Creekstone Pines Apartments Wednesday night. He was transported to an area hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Eric Simmons, 22, has been charged with first degree murder in the case. Simmons was arrested around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Then, a second suspect, Samarjay Peterson, 22, of Greenville surrendered Friday morning at the Greenville Police Department in connection with the fatal shooting.

He has been charged with murder and is being held without bond. 

Latahsa Simms says she went to high school with Eric Simmons and is surprised by his alleged involvement.

"In high school he was real nice and everything, but I didn't know him on a personal level," said Simms.

It's not clear whether Powell struggled with the two suspects. We do know he apparently knew them because he let them in.

Powell earned football all-state honors his senior year playing for Greenville High School. In 1992 he went on to play for the University of Alabama.

Powell's former Alabama teammate Jeff Foshee remembered Powell as a "gentle giant."

"I was shocked when I found out this morning. I haven't talked with Ozell in about 10 years. He was a good guy on and off the field," Foshee said.

Powell was a freshman at Alabama in 1992 when the Tide won the national title.

Powell was also part of the practice squad for the Washington Redskins in 1997 and 1998.

In 2000 he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons and in 2001 played for the now defunct Birmingham Boltz, part of the XFL football league.

Lt. Justin Lovvorn, lead investigator for Greenville PD, tells WSFA 12 News: "We are confident that the two subjects we have arrested now are the only other people in the apartment at time of the shooting besides the victim and a witness. Our investigation is ongoing and we are still gathering other evidence to build on the case we have on the two subjects. We are currently waiting on forensic results."

As for a possible motive, Lovvorn said that it appeared to be a robbery but he could not elaborate further at this point in the investigation.

When asked if Powell knew the suspects, Lovvorn responded: "He knew them well enough to let them into his apartment."

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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