Eric Matthew Blackerby, a 16-year-old Alabaster, Alabama teen, has been arrested for the death of 19-year old William Allen Neff. Eric Blackerby was originally arrested for an assault that occurred on the Cahaba River on July 29. Law enforcement officials say that it all started out as a group fight that escalated after Blackerby beat William Neff to death with a baseball bat. The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. Neff was transported to a hospital where he died on Friday. Now, Eric Matthew Blackerby is charged with murder, an upgrade from the assault charge. Prosecutors will charge Eric Blackerby as an adult.
People who know both boys say that it’s a tragic example of what can happen when a backwoods fight turns into a case of murder when one of them decides to pick up a weapon and kill the other. Local police have not specified what led to the incident, but friends and family say that it started out as a fight at an old teen hangout that turned deadly. Friends and family members of the alleged killer say that he was invited to come to “The Slab,” a place where local teens go to hang out and swim. They go on to say that Blackerby was only protecting himself against William Neff.
Sources say that Eric Matthew Blackerby is known to have a temper, but is always willing to help anyone out in need. But that offers William Neff’s family little consolation. Neff has had his share of difficulties, but friends say that he was turning his life around and didn’t deserve what happened to him.
William Allen Neff, of Maylene, was remembered in a vigil today by his coworkers. John Hancock of Warehouse 31 told WIAT News the following.
“You know, we’re family here at Warehouse 31, we pitch a family atmosphere to everyone here that’s behind the scenes. Just like with a movie or whatever kind of production you are going to have, you get to know each other and it all falls in together, and make it happen, it’s definitely the loss of a family member.”
Many parents say “The Slab” is no longer a good place to hangout for teens because a lot goes on there that parents no nothing about. Chief Deputy George agrees. He states the following to WBRC Fox 6.
“I wouldn’t say we have a lot of incidents but when you get that many people in an area, in an uncontrolled environment then things tend to happen.() I would not recommend youth at all going out there to swim.”
Eric Blackerby is being held at the Shelby County Jail on $500,000 bond. Please check back as we gather more details in this case.
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