Deputies say the man killed was trying to protect a woman who was being beaten. Neighbors are in shock and disbelief. Neighbors say it was just like Willie Joe Stanford to help someone in need and that ultimately cost him his life.
The crime scene tape is a reminder of what happened in this close knit community. Gadsden County deputies say Willie Joe Stanford had a small party Wednesday night at his Juniper Road home. They say sometime during that party, Yolanda Nessmith slapped Jose Solis who then began beating her. Deputies say Stanford was able to stop the fight. Then, they say Solis left the scene, returned with two of his brothers and attacked the woman again.
"Willie Joe Stanford came outside he observed a man beating Yolanda. He came outside with a shot gun and was confronted by Jose. They struggled over the shotgun and it fired. No one was hit by the shotgun," says Maj. Ed Spooner.
Spooner says Jose Solis then grabbed the gun, broke the stock and repeatedly beat Stanford until he died. Authorities say Stanford's friend Jerry Shiver tried to help him only to be beaten unconscious by Jose's brothers, Mauro and Armondo Solis. Shiver was lifeflighted to TMH.
Neighbors say they are shocked and afraid.
"It happened too close to my house it scares me you don't think something like that happens here. You would never expect it's 500 yards from my house to his house, that's just too close you expect something like that too happen in the city," says Lee Leynes.
Stanford's friends are still reeling from his death.
"It seems real bad what happened to him he's one of the best person I know all around best guy I ever met," Cliff Sloat says.
Thursday night the community came together and held a candlelight vigil for Stanford and to raise money for his funeral expenses. Shiver is now listed in stable condition. The three men have all been charged with second degree murder and aggravated battery.
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