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Possible death hammer found off refuge pier
By Ben Montgomery

A hammer investigators believe was used in the death of a 68-year-old Limestone County woman was found in Decatur.

Limestone Sheriff’s Department investigators retrieved a hammer from the Tennessee River, just off Alabama 67, on Oct. 31.

James Paul Pigg, 33, is accused of attacking Barbara Delaney, his grandmother, at her Athens home March 27. Pigg allegedly shot his grandmother, then hit her in the head with a hammer, Sheriff Mike Blakely said. She died a few hours later.

Capt. Stanley McNatt said investigators received information that suggested Pigg dumped the hammer off a fishing pier in the Joe Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. The hammer will be sent to a state forensic lab to determine if it is the one Pigg used.

The Sheriff’s Department used magnets to pull the hammer from the riverbed. Morgan County Rescue Squad divers searched the river Nov. 1 for additional evidence but did not retrieve anything.

Delaney’s autopsy showed wounds from a small-caliber handgun. McNatt said no gun has been found yet.

Limestone District Attorney Brian Jones said his office is ready to present a narrative of how Pigg allegedly killed his grandmother, and that the hammer will help persuade a jury of the narrative’s accuracy.

“A lot of hard work went into finding the weapon,” Jones said. “The sheriff’s office was using community service workers on weekends to find it. They got it done.”

Pigg was indicted on a murder charge in April. He entered a not guilty plea at an arraignment hearing in July. His trial date has not been set. He remained in jail Wednesday in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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