Criminal Justice

Two More Charged in Murder of Ala. Law Firm Partner


Two more men have been charged in an alleged solicitation of and conspiracy to murder a partner in an Alabama law firm, bringing the total number of suspects in the crime to four.

Earnest James Files Jr., 56, and Charles Andrew Joseph Hendrix, 21, appeared yesterday in Talladega County Circuit Court. Files faces charges of criminal solicitation of murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder. Hendrix is charged with two capital murder counts for a crime allegedly committed during a burglary in the first degree, the Daily Home reports.

Blake Lazenby, 54, was found shot to death in his Sylacauga home last July after police in another town found his sports utility vehicle ablaze and authorities began looking for him. A longtime civil practitioner at Wooten Thornton Carpenter O’Brien Lazenby and Lawrence in Talladega, he was described by a fellow partner to a local newspaper at the time of his death as “the nicest person you’d ever want to meet.”

Hendrix is accused of stealing the SUV, and faces a theft charge for allegedly doing so.

Two other men were charged in the case in January. Ocie Lynch, 30, faces two capital murder counts. Calvin McCall Haynes, 30, is charged with solicitation of and conspiracy to commit murder.

Details of what police say happened are sketchy, but the newspaper reports that Lazenby, during a divorce battle with his wife, Geanne, had sought information from the Coosa County Sheriff’s Department concerning any claims or allegations made by his wife concerning Files.

Sheriff’s department records show that Geanne Lazenby had made a harassing communications and criminal trespass complaint against Files in March 2011, saying that he had called and visited her repeatedly after she asked him not to. The case was dismissed but resulted in a no-contact order.

The murder investigation is ongoing.

Hat tip: Birmingham News.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Police Trace Alabama Lawyer’s Burning SUV, Find Him Dead of Multiple Gunshots at Home”

ABAJournal.com: “Birmingham Man Charged in Murder of Lawyer Who Was Found Dead of Multiple Gunshots”

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