COLD CASE: Family, investigators still searching for answers after 1997 killing

Joseph Jowers

A minor chivalrous act is the last thing Joseph Todd Jowers accomplished before he was shot and killed the night of Oct. 13, 1997. Twenty-four years later, investigators and loved ones are still uncertain who killed him and why.

The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit needs your help solving the case.

“He was shot and killed behind Classics Lounge, which was a bar off Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa,” said Tuscaloosa VCU Capt. Jack Kennedy. “He was a frequent patron of the establishment and taught country line dancing and sang karaoke. He was known for that.”

While the surroundings where Jowers was ambushed that night have changed a bit over the years, the status on his case has not. It’s still unsolved.

“There are different persons of interest who have been looked at,” Kennedy said. “But of course, our burden is beyond a reasonable doubt. At the law enforcement end, we need enough probable cause for an arrest. We want to be successful for prosecution in court.”

The 24-year long question: Why would someone want to kill the 32-year-old entertainer? Witnesses said Jowers was walking a woman to her car when he was shot. Whoever shot him ran into a wooded area nearby. The motive has never been clear, investigators said.

Kennedy said cold cases are challenging to solve because memories fade, people move or pass away and new evidence disappears or becomes even harder to uncover.

Sadly, Jowers’ mother Norma Jowers and grandmother Sybil Malone died without knowing who took him from them.

“If anybody knows anything that can help us in any way, we would sure be so thankful that we could find the person that did this,” Malone told WVUA 23 in 1997.

Kennedy said there’s still hope in solving these cases, and it’s getting justice for victims like Todd Jowers that keep investigators on the hunt.

If you have any information on this cold case, please contact the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit at 205-752-0616.

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