HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A teen murder suspect’s grandfather was detained at the Madison County Courthouse while he was there for the preliminary hearing.
16-year-old Jeffrey Wanca was in court for a preliminary hearing Wednesday. He is charged with the murder of his father and the attempted murder of his younger brother.
At the end of the hearing, family members had an opportunity to talk with Wanca in a closed-door meeting. it’s not clear what was said, but several deputies inside the courtroom came running in. There grandfather, Rick McNamara, was taken out in handcuffs.
This appeared to be the result of a verbal exchange inside the room. However, it is not confirmed why McNamara was detained or if he was charged with a crime.
During the hearing, Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigator Jason Payne took the stand and explained what he saw at the scene on Barberry Drive in Toney back in August and what he heard on the phone from 911 calls.
He said Wanca told the operator his dad assaulted him and threatened to handle the situation himself if law enforcement didn’t arrive soon. He said there was then a struggle and he heard three gunshots and he heard an adult scream, and then another shot.
Payne said before Chad Wanca was killed, he called the non-emergency number and was calm and didn’t have any weapons on him, but there were some in the house.
Investigators say 12-year-old Hunter Wanca told deputies while in an ambulance that he was shot by Jeffrey Wanca and the older brother also shot their dad.
Wanca’s attorney, Bruce Gardner, said, “I’ve been practicing law 40 years. And every time I think I’ve seen it all, I see something new that astounds me in the way kids get treated, in the way that parents parent, to the extent this can only be described as a human tragedy."
This case is now going to the grand jury. No date has been set.
Gardner is asking the judge to lower Wanca’s bond.