Tuscaloosa cold case unit charges man in 1987 murder

Tuscaloosa cold case unit charges man in 1987 murder

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Terry Ray "Tico" Snow (L) with his attorney in court Friday. Source: WBRC video Terry Ray "Tico" Snow (L) with his attorney in court Friday. Source: WBRC video
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

Tuscaloosa police say they've solved a cold case murder that happened more than 20 years ago.

Terry Ray "Tico" Snow's appearance in court Friday was a long time coming. He's accused of gunning down James Lee Tilley in 1987.

Snow didn't enter a plea, instead waiving his hearing. That action sends the case to a grand jury to determine if there's enough evidence against him to go to trial.

Police say that Tilley was shot five times on a back country road after he'd left his job on Highway 82. His family and supporters filled the courtroom inside the Tuscaloosa County Jail.

Investigators say that over the years, people with information on the murder were finally willing to come forward.

"After several months of going back and looking into the case, the warrant was issued and [Snow] was arrested in October of last year. And it's just been getting through the system to have the preliminary hearing," Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Lt. Kip Hart said.

Snow is currently serving time in state prison on attempted murder charges in an unrelated case. He was briefly released from that prison to attend today's hearing.

The same 3-member cold case unit that has investigated the Tilley murder has already closed several other crimes.

Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide Unit formed a cold case unit two years ago. Lt. Hart says their work frees up other to investigate and hopefully solve more recent murders.

"That's what they spend 99 percent of their time on now. Where as before it was how much time a normal investigator would have to devote to it aside from his normal caseload," Hart said.

They review files from older crimes to bring closure to families who just want justice for their loved ones.

"Right now these guys are able to focus almost all their time on these older cases to try to get a resolution to it," Hart said.

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