Suicide investigation questioned by Walker Co. family
Family members of Donald Edward Fickey Jr. hired a private investigator and say they have the evidence to prove this case needs to be looked at again.
A Walker County family is fighting to prove that a father of three was murdered, even though investigators ruled his death a suicide.
Donald Edward Fickey Jr, "DJ," was found dead with a shotgun wound to his face. Family members hired a private investigator and say they have the evidence to prove this case needs to be looked at again.
Family members say DJ Fickey was with at least two other people at the time of his death, his wife and a family friend who called 911. They say there are too many inconsistencies in that friend's story that point to foul play.
"I can't sleep at night, I cry myself to sleep every night even to this day," Fickey's sister, Amanda Shirley, said.
Shirley tells Channel 3, she cannot understand why investigators closed her brother's case.
"His father died when he was 14, and so, he knew what it was like to grow up without a daddy, and he would never to that to his kids," Shirley said.
She shared a 911 call that was included in the evidence collected by the Walker County Sheriff's Department. You can hear the caller report moving the gun DJ Fickey allegedly shot himself with.
Caller: " I got the gun up and checked to see what it was and it was a 12 gauge."
Dispatcher: " Okay, so you moved the gun is that correct?"
Caller: " Yes".
Dispatcher: " Okay can you secure that gun, can you get it unloaded safely and get it to the side out of the way?"
The responding deputy noted in his report that he too secured the shotgun on the scene.
"The officer went inside, got the gun and put it out on the table so that's tampering with evidence," said Shirley.
Investigators noted in their reports that the caller changed his story multiple times and failed a polygraph test.
According to those reports, he said he was in another room at the time of the shooting. He then later told detectives he was wrestling Fickey for the gun when it fired.
DJ's wife told a different story.
"She seen the person of interest come out of the bedroom, angrily point the gun at my brother, called him a name and shot him," Shirley said.
The GBI determined DJ's death to be a suicide. The District Attorney's Office said there was not enough evidence in the case to file charges.
Shirley says she will never give up on justice for the father of three.
"They're never going to remember their daddy; they're never going to know him," Shirley explained. "He's never going to be here for birthday parties, Christmas, Halloweens or to walk his twin daughter's down the aisle," Shirley said. "What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, and this is not right."
The Walker County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney Buzz Franklin have not returned our calls. A spokesperson for the GBI says the case was reviewed, and they stand by their initial ruling.
"A GBI Medical Examiner conducted an examination of Mr. Fickey's injury. Based on the results of this examination, which includes a physical examination and information obtained from the Walker County Sheriff's Office investigation, the manner of death was ruled a suicide. Subsequently, the Medical Examiner's Office reviewed additional information connected to this case and performed further forensic testing. Based on the review, the results of the manner of death remain unchanged as the new information provided did not support a new finding. " - Nelly Miles, GBI Spokesperson.
DJ's family has hired Private Investigator Eric Echols who is pushing for the case to be reopened because gunshot residue tests were never done to determine if DJ fired a gun. Echols tells Channel 3 the GBI has shown no interest in meeting with him about the case.