Subject of manhunt suspected of four murders from Lee County to Tallapoosa County and Birmingham


Derrick Hightower charged with Capital Murder in fatal Birmingham shooting (mugshot from Birmingham Police)

by Stephen Gallien |

A Georgia man suspected of four murders in a series of violent crimes from Auburn to Birmingham has now been charged with Capital Murder in Jefferson County.

Birmingham police announced the new charge Monday afternoon against Derrick Lee Hightower, 32 of Columbus, Georgia.

Investigators believe Hightower shot and killed Antione Harris, 36, of Briar Grove Road in Birmingham.

Harris was found inside a private residence Saturday morning dead from gunshot wounds he suffered during an assault. Investigators made the discovery during an investigation into an officer-involved shooting where Hightower was hit in the arm during a confrontation with Birmingham Police.

Auburn police have also obtained felony warrants against Hightower for the murder of a Phenix City woman. Nancy Nash, 54, was found dead of a gunshot wound after authorities were called to a vehicle fire on Highway 280 in Lee County Friday.

Nash’s 2019 Nissan Frontier was missing and has since been found in Irondale. The SUV is being taken back to the Auburn Police Division for processing by the FBI.

In between those two killings suspected to have been carried out by Hightower, investigators are also looking to see if he’s involved in a double-murder in Dadeville. Willie Tidwell, 61, and his wife Barbara, 65, were found shot to death Friday evening on 200 North Barrett Street in Dadeville.

“Obviously, in a small town where everybody knows everybody else, it really hurts, hurts a lot of people,” said Dadeville Chief of Police Jonathan Floyd.

Floyd said his department anticipates getting warrants in the double murder.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is also working to get warrants on Hightower for a robbery Friday in Chelsea.

Three people inside OrthoExpress Urgent Care at 104 Chelsea Point Drive were robbed and investigators said evidence was located that has helped them connect the crime to Hightower.

“We are very thankful that this individual has been arrested and is no longer a danger to everyone,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted during this unfortunate series of events.”

A woman arrested with Hightower in Birmingham is also facing charges. Auburn police said Kentrice Symonee Hill, 21 from Birmingham, is being charged with Theft of Property and Capital Murder. She’s been taken to the Lee County Detention Center.