BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — The man accused in the brutal, shotgun murder of his friend in Perdido last month was in a Baldwin County courtroom Tuesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors say the murder was over a girl.
Ethan Branum, 23, is now charged with capital murder in the death of 24-year-old Cody Taylor.
Investigator Christopher Wright testified Branum shot Taylor five or six times with a 12 gauge shotgun after entering Taylor’s home on Cemetery Road in Perdido. Wright testified Branum entered the house through an unlocked door, walked to the master bedroom and found his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, in bed with Taylor.
Wright said Branum admitted to shooting Taylor but told investigators he intended to commit suicide in front of his girlfriend but instead turned the gun on Taylor.
After the murder, Branum left the house with his ex-girlfriend. She testified that she talked him into turning himself into authorities. They both went to the docket room of the Baldwin County Corrections Center in Bay Minette on January 16 and told employees in the lobby that a homicide had occurred in Perdido.
Branum was originally charged with murder, unlawful imprisonment, first-degree burglary and menacing. Prosecutors asked the judge to drop those charges in light of the upgraded charge of capital murder. The judge agreed and bound the case over to a Baldwin County Grand Jury.
Branum remains in the Baldwin County Jail without bond.