Search
STAY CONNECTED
NEWS RELEASE
Steven T. Marshall
Alabama Attorney General www.ago.alabama.gov

AG State Building

For More Information
Contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 July 13, 2017

ATTORNEY GENERAL STEVE MARSHALL AND CLAY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JEFFREY WILLIS ANNOUNCE GUILTY PLEA AND SENTENCING OF LOREN DANIEL BUNNER FOR MURDER OF JOLEE NICOLE CALLAN

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall and Clay County District Attorney Jeffrey Willis announced that Loren Daniel Bunner pleaded guilty in Clay County Circuit Court Thursday to the murder of Jolee Nicole Callan.  Following his guilty plea, Bunner was sentenced by the court to serve 52 years in prison and pay 9,255.92 in restitution to the Alabama Crime Victims Commission.  The Alabama Attorney General’s Office assisted District Attorney Willis in the case.

On August 20, 2015, Loren Bunner, age 20 of Shelby County, lured his ex-girlfriend Jolee Callan, age 18 of Shelby County, to the Pinhoti Trail area of Mount Cheaha where he shot her twice in the head, killing her, before throwing her body off of a 40-foot cliff.  Bunner then left the crime scene and while driving back home to Shelby County called 911 to report that he “murdered his ex-girlfriend.” He pulled over and waited for law enforcement to arrive to take him into custody.   He gave statements to law enforcement that he and Callan had a suicide pact to jump off the mountain and when they couldn't jump she asked him to shoot her when she wasn't looking.  He said that after he shot her he couldn't go through with committing suicide.  He confessed to the murder to multiple law enforcement agencies and to two inmates. 

Bunner, who was age 20 at the time of the murder, was initially granted youthful offender status but after objections from the prosecution the court withdrew the youthful status and ordered the defendant to be tried as an adult.  Bunner pleaded guilty to murder today.  His 52-year prison sentence includes 10 years for the use of a firearm in the commission of murder.

“This senseless and selfish crime has been a terrible loss to the family and friends of Jolee and a loss to the community as a whole,” said District Attorney Jeffrey Willis.  “Nothing that was done here can correct that.  I am, however, grateful that we were able to conclude the case without the necessity of putting the Callan family through a lengthy trial.  I want to personally thank Attorney General Steve Marshall for his willingness to lend his office’s assistance to the prosecution of this case.  I want to especially thank Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Billingslea for her tireless work on the case.”

“We have all been struck by the loss suffered by the Callan family and after today’s guilty plea and sentence of the defendant we hope that their healing can finally begin,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.  “A young life full of promise was lost two years ago, and, as prosecutors we have done our best to ensure that justice was served for Jolee and her family.  My gratitude goes out to District Attorney Jeffrey Willis who allowed my team to assist in the prosecution of this case.”

Attorney General Marshall recognized Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Billingslea and Lori Arnold, Legal Research Assistant, of the Attorney General’s Criminal Trials Division for their invaluable work in the case.  He also thanked the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office, the Oxford Police Department, Jacksonville State University’s Department of Applied Sciences, and the U.S. Forestry Service for their assistance in the case. 

 --30--

Download pdf