iPhone Photo Leads Detectives to Alabama Crime Spree Perpetrators

The lead detective in a homicide investigation received key information from a photo taken in a high school cafeteria with a stolen iPhone. As part of a crime spree that included two murders, a group of teens were robbed of their cell phones, car keys, and wallets at gunpoint in a park outside of an elementary school in Decatur, Alabama.

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One of the victims bought a new cell phone and while synching it to the iCloud discovered a picture of an unknown man that had been taken the day after the phone had been stolen. Detective Mike Burleson identified the photo as having been taken in Decatur High School. With this information, he was able to identify the person in the photo who then told him that 16-year old Cortez Ocie Mitchell had taken the picture.

When brought in for questioning, Mitchell confessed to the robbery along with the murder of Antonio Hernandez and an additional robbery of a man riding his bicycle. He fingered fellow Decatur residents Joseph Christopher Cowan, Amani Juan Goodwin, and Cedric Lamont Cowan as his partners in the four-day crime spree. Goodwin is thought to have driven the car used during these crimes.

The four are suspects in additional crimes including the murder of Joshua Dewayne Davis in a nearby park and the robbery of a woman who was threatened with death if she did not give up her purse. Investigations continue into these crimes.

Joseph Cowan is charged with capital murder and has been denied bond, while Goodwin and Mitchell are being held on a $300,000 bond. As of May 20, 2015, Cedric Cowan has yet to appear in court.