DAUGHTER REACTS TO ARRESTS IN FATHER’S MURDER, SHARES STORIES OF HOW SHE’S COPED WITH LOSS

Capital Murder Suspects

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton
Writing by WVUA 23’s Savannah Bullard

After nearly a year and a half of uncertainty, a Tuscaloosa woman finally knows the names of the suspects in her father’s brutal murder. Now she’s waiting to see their faces in court.

“The people who did this to my father, they took his voice from him,” Katie Sandlin, daughter of Allen Sandlin, said.

Five people have been arrested in connection to the murders of Hernan Antonio Padilla and Allen Clifford Sandlin. Katie Sandlin said she’ll never forget the phone call that all five of her father’s suspected killers were in custody.

“It was pretty warm that afternoon,” Katie Sandlin said. “I remember what I was wearing, the exact spot I was standing when I got that phone call from the lead detective saying, ‘We got them.’ To me, that was such a sense of relief. I remember my knees almost buckling and just kind of crouching down and just being like,’Thank you. Thank you so much.’”

Court records show Padilla and Allen Sandlin were both found shot to death inside a house near Carbon Hill in May 2018. According to Fayette County District Attorney Andy Hamlin, the following people are charged with nine counts of capital murder.

  • Michael Council
  • Lazaro Moran
  • Lindettia Lynette Lowery
  • Brandon Lowery
  • Brittany Bell-Spates

CAPITAL MURDER SUSPECTS

“I don’t have to spend another holiday thinking, ‘Oh, I wonder what they are doing right now?’” Katie Sandlin said. “Are they opening presents with their family or are they at home watching college football? My dad obviously can’t do those things.’”

Katie Sandlin reacted to the arrests with tears, and even joy.

“They probably have not thought twice about my father or what It’s done to me, his family and friends, or this community,” Katie Sandlin said. “It has changed our lives forever. Words cannot describe how great it is to at least know that at any given moment, I can wake up in the middle of the night and know exactly where they are.”

Katie doesn’t have a message to her father’s suspected killers she is ready to share yet, but she does have one for the investigators and everyone who has brought her to this point in the investigation.

“I will be forever grateful. There are literally no words to describe. I could not ask for any better,” Katie Sandlin said.

Her father’s work brought him to the home where he was killed. She said he was doing contracting work at the property.

Both Lowerys are being held in the Pickens County Jail. Council and Moran were arrested in New Jersey, where they live. Council has been extradited to Fayette County, but Moran remains in the Camden County Jail awaiting extradition. Court records show Bell-Spates is being held in the Fayette County Jail but she is not listed on their website as a current inmate.

Though the journey to leading a normal life without her father has been a difficult one, Katie Sandlin has found ways to move on while keeping him close to her heart.

“The morning of my dad’s funeral, I was able to spend some quiet time with him and I told him, ‘I promise to try to live life enough for the both of us,’” Katie Sandlin said. “My promise to him, I really have tried to fulfill that as best as possible.”

katie autobiography

In the spirit of that promise, Katie Sandlin has done things over the past year and a half that she said she never would have considered doing prior to her father’s death. An avid Alabama football family, the Sandlins are very fond of Bama game days.

“I actually found a biography last night,” Katie Sandlin said. “I was 10 years old, and I wrote about how the person I admire most is my dad and how I love to go to Alabama football games with him.”

One former player, Sean Alexander, has always been one of Sandlin’s favorites. She considers him “one of the absolute best running backs we ever had,” and her dad commemorated that love by purchasing a #37 jersey for her when she was a young girl. There’s just this funny story behind that jersey that has followed Sandlin for most of her life.

“And it was so big on me, it looked like a dress,” she said. “I wanted to wear it to school for picture day and my mom said I couldn’t so I hid it in my backpack and I took it anyways. Then the proofs came in and it was not a good situation, I was in a lot of trouble.”

katie sean alexander

Fast forward 22 years, and Sandlin is fulfilling the promise she made to her dad one adventure at a time. One of those promises took her all the way across the country to California for the 2018 National Championship between the Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers.

“I stayed in an AirBnB and the host family took me to this random, hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint, and you would never, ever guess who was there,” she said.

Cue the tears: it was Sean Alexander.

“Before I even met the man, I am ugly crying,” she said. “I didn’t tell him that part of the reason why I was so emotional was because I had taken that trip because my dad would have loved to have gone to the national championship game, but it was so sweet because he actually recorded a little video to my dad, telling him how he should have given me a butt whooping for wearing that jersey to school for picture day.”

katie sean alexander

She mentioned that she still has that jersey from all those years ago, excited to report that it still fits her – albeit not like a dress anymore. She even got her graduation photos taken in that jersey and hopes one day Alexander can sign it for her. This is one of the many fond memories Katie Sandlin has been able to make in memory of her dad. 

“I have a scrapbook and I’ll put like, a concert ticket or a picture or whatever in there and just like, jot a little note of what it was,” Katie Sandlin said. “And I definitely hope to eventually fill it up and start another one. So that’s just a way for me to, you know, carry on that relationship with him that I can’t have anymore.”

By also documenting her journeys on her Facebook page, Allen Sandlin’s family and friends can also have the opportunity to see the things she’s doing in memory of him.

katie autobiography
katie sean alexander
katie sean alexander

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