Auburn teen murder suspect held without bond due to public safety concerns

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AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A Lee County Judge has ordered an Auburn teen charged with Murder be held without bond due to public safety concerns on behalf of the Lee Co. District Attorney’s Office.

16-year-old Ross McFarland is charged in Thursday’s shooting death of 66-year-old Martha White. White was the fiancé of McFarland’s father, a prominent east Alabama physician.

“I requested an extraordinary bond in this case as a result of evidence obtained during the investigation. I presented this information to the court in support of my public safety concerns and the judge ordered the defendant to be held without bond,” shared Lee Co. District Attorney Brandon Hughes.

Prosecutors declined to comment specifically on why McFarland’s release would cause them to be concerned for the safety of the public.

Ross McFarland, who is publicly known to identify as male, is being held at the Lee County Detention Facility as a female according to detention facility records.

Coroner Bill Harris says White appears to have been killed by a single gunshot based on a preliminary exam.

Auburn police arrested the 16-year-old early Friday morning on Murder charges after the Thursday night homicide along Burke Place.

“On Oct. 18, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., Auburn Police along with the assistance of members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Tallapoosa County Drug Task Force arrested Ross Jonathan McFarland, 16, of Auburn, on a warrant for Murder,” said Auburn Police Captain Lorenzo Dorsey.

Ross Jonathan McFarland
Source: Auburn Police

Investigators say analysis of the scene resulted in McFarland, who resides at the residence on Burke Place, being developed as a suspect in the death.

“McFarland, a truck missing from the residence and what is believed to be the weapon used in the homicide, was located in the 10,000 block of Highway 50 near Dadeville and taken into custody,” said Dorsey.

McFarland has been charged with Murder, transported to the Lee County jail and was held under a $150,000 bond until a no bond was issued in a Friday afternoon hearing. This means McFarland will be held until a possible trial unless a new bond is set in the case.

A Preliminary Hearing has been scheduled for a later date to determine if the case will go to a grand jury for them to consider an official indictment.

Meanwhile, the case remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information regarding this crime is urged to contact the Auburn Police Division Detective Section at 334-501-3140 or the anonymous tip line at 334-246-1391.

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