LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Late in the evening of September 2, 2019, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home on Ridge Road in Elkmont where they found John Wayne Sisk, 38, Mary Sisk, 35, and three children – Kane, 6, Aurora, 4, and Colson, 6 months. All had been shot in the head and killed.
Mason Sisk was just 14 that night, but investigators say he eventually confessed to shooting them. These statements would eventually become a point of contention for Sisk’s legal team and the prosecution.
Here is a timeline of events from that night until the start of Sisk’s capital murder trial on September 12, 2022.
On a quiet Tuesday evening in Elkmont, around 10 p.m., 14-year-old Mason Sisk was running away from the house where he, his three younger siblings, stepmother and father were living.
He told authorities he was in the basement of the house when he heard gunshots and fled through the door. After pointing out some discrepancies in his story, Limestone County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Sisk confessed to shooting his entire family.
Deputies said they believe the teenager used a 9mm handgun in the shooting and threw it away before calling 911. They said the gun was recovered from the edge from a nearby road on Tuesday morning after the teenager told investigators where he dumped her. It was unclear who the apparent murder weapon belonged to.
Sisk’s evidence file
Sisk’s probation report from the Tennessee Valley Juvenile Detention Center in Tuscumbia indicates that he had no prior criminal record. He was written off twice during his stay and received several warnings or reminders for unacceptable behavior, which the report said were primarily for speaking without permission.
Sisk appeared to be a normal 14-year-old both mentally and physically, according to the probation officer’s report. He followed instructions, did his homework and interacted well with others, he says. He was also awarded honorary resident status twice, which gave him the highest level of privileges.
Officials said Sisk underwent a mental evaluation and the court found there was no indication that he suffered from a mental disorder.
The probation officer who wrote the report recommended transferring Sisk’s case to the adult justice system, due to the seriousness of the crimes.
In 2020, Sisk was formally charged as an adult with the murders of five family members.
On January 27, 2021, court documents were filed indicating that the 16-year-old had been charged with capital murder.
Shortly before the indictment was due, Sisk’s defense attorney had filed a motion citing the teenager’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.
A trial is defined
Nov. 1, 2021 was announced as the official trial date in April of that year, according to Sisk’s attorney.
A few months later, however, Limestone County Circuit Court Judge Robert Baker would push that date back to February 28, 2022, since the current judge handling the case would retire around the same time of the trial. .
A plea date was scheduled to take place before that trial on February 9.
Still, the trial would be postponed once again at a hearing in February, with a new date set for September 12, 2022.
During this hearing, the court spoke with the lawyers in a sometimes whispered tone. Although it was unclear what was discussed, the topic of mental capacity to stand trial was one of the topics.
In a March 2022 court filing, Sisk requested a new attorney due to the fact that his current defense was running for district attorney.
Court documents show Sisk ‘expressed doubts’ about Lucas Beaty’s political campaign to become Limestone County District Attorney. Beaty filed for withdrawal on Tuesday. The Limestone County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting Sisk.
Beaty’s motion says Sisk asked Beaty to step down from his case and he asked another attorney to work with Sizemore. “Given the seriousness of the matter, the undersigned believes that the defendant should have nothing but complete confidence and confidence in his attorneys,” the filing reads.
Shortly after the application was filed, court records would show that J. Shay Golden had been officially appointed to represent the teenager going forward.
With his new attorney in place, Sisk would be allowed to visit the crime scene at Elkmont.
Peanut butter… and coffee
Some of Sisk’s behaviors were detailed in court records, including the attempted poisoning of his stepmother with peanut butter.
Court records showed malicious acts that led to the murder of five members of his family and revealed new information about Mason’s behavior at home. District attorneys say Mason knowingly put peanut butter in his stepmother’s coffee despite her severe peanut allergy.
The discovery file also alleges that Mason threatened his father and stepmother and was forceful with his siblings at home. He also said he had “anger control” issues with his brother.
Prosecutors say Mason stole two rings from his stepmother and gave them away and stole a gun from his grandmother.
Delete the confession?
In early August 2022, Sisk’s defense filed a motion to dismiss his confession. They argued that on the night of the murders, 14-year-old Sisk was questioned by multiple Limestone County Sheriff’s Deputies without having read his rights from Miranda or officials attempting to contact his family and DHR.
The defense said Sisk was held by law enforcement for two hours at the scene before being taken to the sheriff’s office.
The state argued that at the time, Sisk was not in police custody when he was handcuffed and put in a patrol car. They also claim that he was not questioned or coerced by law enforcement into making a confession at the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement witnesses also said Sisk was free to go to the scene.
On September 8, a Limestone County judge ruled that Sisk’s statements would be allowed in the murder trial. He also decided to allow the trial of certain medical reports and coroner’s reports after the defense said those records may have been hidden from them for an extended period.
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