Alabama man charged in 39-year-old cold case killing after standoff with police

MOBILE, Ala. — A 19-year-old Alabama woman was found raped and stabbed to death on a dead-end Mobile street 39 years ago.

On Tuesday, a day short of the grim anniversary of Sandra Cassidy Williams’ killing, her family got a measure of justice as a suspect was arrested in connection with her death.

Alvin Ray Allen, 61, is being held in the Mobile County Jail on a murder charge following a standoff with police. NBC15 reported that when detectives arrived on Allen's doorstep with a warrant, he slammed the door in their faces and refused to come out.

Allen's wife left the house peacefully, but it took a SWAT team robot entering the home to get Allen to surrender to authorities, the news station said.

Footage from multiple local media shows Allen walking slowly into the yard with his hands above his head. As he knelt on the ground, officers moved forward and handcuff him.

Watch NBC15's coverage of Allen's capture below.

Allen was booked into the county jail but was erroneously released on bail less than 12 hours later. WKRG in Mobile reported that Allen's release happened because a corrections officer failed to see the $10,000 cash component of his $100,000 bail.

Allen was arrested again Wednesday and booked back into the jail.

"We are currently reviewing procedures with corrections officers who work in docket, the Circuit Clerk's Office and the Circuit Court Office as it relates to District Attorney grand jury indictments," the Mobile County Sheriff's Office said in a statement to the news station.

WKRG reported in 2017 that cold case investigators, prompted by Williams' sister, Judy Barfield, were taking a renewed interest in the young woman's Sept. 11, 1980, slaying. Williams' body was found on Clemente Court, which is now a cul-de-sac, about eight miles from her apartment complex on Azalea Road.

"It's been a long time coming, and she needs to rest," Barfield told the news station at the time. "Those beautiful green eyes of hers, that pretty smile and that brown hair. It's time for her to rest."

Williams’ mother, Virginia West, described the pain of losing her daughter.

"I feel the same as I did the day that it happened. It hurts. It never ends," West said.

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NBC15 reported in 2017 that Williams was last seen in her apartment, miles from where her body was found. Her car remained in the parking lot and nothing appeared to be stolen.

"There was no evidence of struggle in her apartment, but her apartment, the door was found ajar," cold case Detective Rusty Hardeman told NBC15 at the time.

WKRG reported that detectives re-interviewed witnesses, but were having some difficulty tracking down Williams' neighbors at the Summer Tree Apartments. They also retested DNA evidence in the case using technology that was not available when Williams was slain.

It was unclear Wednesday what, if any, impact the DNA testing had on the case. WKRG reported that Allen was arrested following a secret indictment by a grand jury.

Alvin Ray Allen, 61, of Mobile, Alabama, is escorted by investigators following his arrest Sept. 10, 2019, in the 39-year-old slaying of Sandra Cassidy Williams. The 19-year-old was found raped and stabbed to death Sept. 11, 1980.

NBC15 caught up with Barfield after Allen was taken into custody for her sister's killing.

"I'm overwhelmed, shocked," an emotional Barfield told the news station. "A long time coming. I'm just happy for my sister because she can rest."

When asked what she hopes Allen’s arrest can do for her mother, Barfield fought back tears.

“I hope bring her some peace before she dies,” Barfield said. “It’s been awful for what this has done to our family and what we’ve had to go through.

“No one should have to go through what this family’s gone through.”