SEMMES, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News has learned the man accused of a double homicide in Semmes is charged with two counts of capital murder.
FOX10 News has learned new information into a possible motive in the murder of a Semmes couple.
A Mobile man is behind bars, accused of killing Stephen and Erica Lankford and setting their home on fire.
What's more, that man is married to Erica Lankford's sister.
DAYS AND LOCATION
The murders happened Friday in the 6700 block of Kings Branch Drive South in Semmes.
Sunday, sheriff's deputies searched a home about eight miles away, on Picardy Street.
That's near Old Shell Road and I-65.
There, deputies seized a number of items from the residence.
Then, Monday morning, deputies arrested Gigada Pearson on two counts of capital murder, first degree arson, and aggravated stalking.
It's that aggravated stalking charge that holds the clues as to what deputies think may have touched off this tragic crime.
PEARSON TALKS ON THE WAY TO JAIL
Early Monday morning, Gigada Pearson was questioned by Fox Ten News Reporter Andrew Perez as he was being led to Metro Jail.
Perez asked him, "Did you kill Erica and Stephen?"
Pearson responded, "Did you?"
Perez also asked "Why do they have you in cuffs right now?"
Pearson said, "Ask them."
Perez asked, "So, are you saying you didn't do this?"
Pearson said, "Thats right."
But, according to Mobile County Sheriff's Deputies, they believe Gigada Pearson did kill Stephen and Erica Lankford.
Monday, Lt. Paul Burch gave insight into past events involving Pearson and his wife, who is Erica Lankford's sister.
Burch said, "We are now aware there's been some allegations of domestic abuse between the suspect and his wife, and, back in May, she filed a protection from abuse order against him, and we know, through the investigation, on several occasions, he's gone searching for her and attempted to contact her, all of which is a serious violation of a protection from abuse order."
Perez also asked Pearson during his walk to Metro Jail Monday morning if he felt bad about the fact the Lankfords were dead.
Pearson answered, "I feel bad about it."
When asked if there was any indication Pearson went to the Lankford's house to look for his wife in the past, Burch said, "That's a good working theory. We do know he had gone there several times in the recent past looking for her. There was actually a police report made out on of the occasions that he did show up, and that's the reason he was charged with aggravated stalking, as well as the other charges."
Burch talked about the condition of Pearson's wife.
He said, "She's doing okay. We've had contact with her and she's in a safe location."
THE CRIME SCENE
Burch also talked about the crime scene.
He said, "This certainly ranks among some of the worst ones we've been to. What makes this one especially difficult was the fact that there was a fire, and the fire department, obviously, doing their job, had to contaminate the scene, which puts up obstacles for us, but we believe we were able to overcome those and gather the evidence needed to charge him."
Burch talked about what happened to Stephen and Erica Lankford at the crime scene.
He said, "We're not confirming a cause of death, but we will confirm that the victims were shot and stabbed."
SUSPECT SADDENED BY THE DEATHS?
Monday morning, Perez again asked Pearson about Lankford's death.
He asked, "You are at least saddened by their deaths, right?"
Pearson said, "Yes, I am."
Perez then asked, "But, you don't know who did this, you don't know who would want to hurt them?"
Pearson answered, "No, I don't."
Sheriff's officials said Pearson could face additional charges after they discuss the case with the district attorney's office.
Pearson is expected to face a bond hearing later this week.
The sheriff's office said it will oppose giving him any bond.
What kind of penalties could Pearson face if convicted?
The sheriffs office says it will pursue this as a capital case, which means Pearson could get the death penalty if convicted.
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