Arrest in shooting death of 89-year-old man


Mobile Police have made an arrest in the shooting death of 89-year-old John Higby.

Police have arrested 28-year-old Gregory O’Neal Hackett for the crime. Hackett has been charged with capital murder. 

It appears a $5,000 reward in this case convinced someone or maybe more than one person, to come forward with information. MPD announced the reward on Monday. Days later, police say, it paid off.

Pleading his innocence in handcuffs, Greg Hackett was pretty chatty on his way to metro jail Friday afternoon. He’s facing a capital murder charge, which doesn’t require a bond. 

It’s not the first time Hackett has walked in front of cameras. Police say he was caught on surveillance video, cutting through an apartment complex, not far from where 89-year-old John Higby was gunned down two days after Christmas. 

It was a shocking murder, at a usually joyful time of year. An innocent grocery run turned deadly when police say Hackett shot and killed Higby during an apparent robbery in the Dauphin Square Shopping Center parking lot, in broad daylight. For a couple of weeks, Hackett was on the run, and the community was on edge. That changed on Friday. 

“It is truly a relief for us as a department to be able to bring justice to the family to be able to bring closure to a family that had to suffer such a loss in particular at the time of year it occurred.”

A clear sigh of relief from Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste and homicide detectives, who are starting the new year with a big arrest, thanks to the surveillance video and the community’s help. 

“[With] some of the video footage, we were able to get some people came forward and again the community stepped forward to help us at that point,” said Battiste. 

Police say because of that help, an alleged murderer is now off the streets. If convicted, Hackett could face the death penalty. He’ll likely have a bond hearing on Monday, but once again, there is no constitutional right to bond for capital charges, so he will most likely stay in jail for quite some time.

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