Anyone interested in the amazing true story of Reverend Will Maxwell, the alleged voodoo preacher accused of killing at least five of his relatives for insurance money in Alexander City, Alabama during the 1970s, can look forward to a new book by one of the men who investigated him at the time.
Appearing on the January 15th broadcast of The Front Porch, retired district attorney E Paul Jones revealed that his book, To Kill a Preacher, will be released in March. Mr. Jones was an insurance investigator who interviewed Reverend Maxwell in the early 1970s. He later assisted the prosecution of Robert Burns, the man who shot and killed Reverend Maxwell at the funeral of his final victim.
Reverend Maxwell was charged with beating and strangling his first wife, but avoided a conviction by marrying the state's chief witness against him. His second wife was later found dead in her car. Maxwell had taken out insurance policies on both women. Other members of his family found dead on the side of the road included his brother, his nephew, and his stepdaughter. Legendary author Harper Lee traveled to Alex City in 1978 to investigate the story for a possible book, but none was ever published.
More details about the story can be found here.
Mr. Jones revealed new details about the case that were previously unknown to the general public and that will be expounded upon in his book, including the following:
1) Mr. Jones suspects there was a sixth victim, whose death benefited Reverend Maxwell.
2) Though his third wife, Ophelia, had taken out insurance on his stepdaughter, Shirley, Reverend Maxwell may have had an additional motive for killing her.
3) Ophelia was indicted in connection with the death of the Reverend's first wife, but the case was dismissed.
The full episode of The Front Porch is available here. Mr. Jones appears on the show around the one-hour mark.
David Brasfield is the author of Blood Cries, a novel based on the Rev. Maxwell story, to be published in 2018.