Day in custody
Published 7:53 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith took a shot in the dark earlier this week that resulted in the apprehension of a Nokomis murder suspect that led authorities on a manhunt for more than 48 hours.
Smith approached the family of 42-year-old Bruce Edward Day, who is charged with the murder of 25-year-old Woodrow Judge “Token” Allen, on Wednesday and asked if they would attempt to contact him and ask that he turn himself in.
A day later, at about 8:30 Thursday evening, Day was taken into custody at his father’s 5th Avenue home in Atmore without incident after Day’s father contacted Smith while he was investigating a possible sighting of the suspect in Evergreen.
When Smith arrived at the home, Day’s father was waiting and told him that his son was in the back and would be out in a minute. That’s when Smith confronted Day for the first time since authorities went to serve an open charge of murder on him at his construction job in Pensacola, Fla. When authorities had arrived there, Day was nowhere to be found.
Smith said he then took Day outside on the front steps of the home to read him his Miranda Rights since children were present.
Smith had promised Day’s father that he would ensure his son’s safety if he cooperated with their agreement. The father’s phone call eased Smith’s worries of any trouble.
Day is currently being held at the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton on an open count of murder. A bond hearing was held early Friday morning in Escambia County District Judge David Jordan’s courtroom, where he took a bond under advisement.
During their trip to Brewton, Smith said Day would not discuss where he had been and how he got where he traveled.
Newspaper articles from 2002 show Day was convicted of reckless endangerment in September of that year. He was charged with attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle that was driven by Allen. In that incident — which happened a month before Allen went missing — Allen was driving with passenger 16-year-old Sarah Kersey when the passenger side window was shattered by gunfire. Officials said Day was the triggerman. Kersey testified that Allen sped up, but the car got “bogged down in some sand” and they fled the car on foot.
When Allen was reported missing a month later, foul play was suspected.
Allen, a white male, was last seen walking through a stretch of woods between his house in Nokomis and a friend’s house in a nearby trailer park. Former Escambia County Sheriff Tim Hawsey said it was a walk Allen took on numerous occasions.
Day served a year in prison on the reckless endangerment conviction and was also sentenced to six months in prison on unrelated drug charges for which he pleaded guilty, according to court records.
Day’s decision to turn himself in Thursday night was a relief to Smith, who said he feared for the safety of the suspect and the agents involved.
Those agencies involved in the manhunt besides the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office included the U.S. Marshal’s Service, agencies in Escambia County Florida, the Atmore Police Department and the sheriff’s offices in Baldwin, Conecuh, Monroe and Butler counties.