Man charged with murdering wife 18 years ago pleads not guilty

Man charged with murdering wife 18 years ago pleads not guilty

JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A Jackson County man charged with murdering his wife 18-years ago pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Barry Whitton is accused of killing his wife, Michelle in 1997.

He told police she went out for breakfast and never came back home.

Six weeks later, she was found beaten and stabbed to death and buried in a shallow grave in Dekalb County.

At the time, police weren't able to charge Whitton, he was always their main suspect in her murder.

He had remarried in the intervening years, but his second wife, Kimberly, and her young daughter, Haliegh Culwell, disappeared in 2007, and police say he's the main suspect in this case as well.

They have never been found, and that case is still unsolved.

He's now serving a ten year prison sentence on other charges, and is currently in the Jackson County Jail.

There was heavy security for Tuesday's hearing, with several deputies bringing Whitton in to the courthouse.

The indictment, handed down by a grand jury last week, includes an investigator's report saying he hit Michelle in the head, causing fatal blunt-force trauma.

The judge has not yet set a trial date in this case.

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