Athens, Alabama

From the Decatur Daily of June 9, 2007

Stepdad kills son: police

Athens authorities say shooting appears to be self-defense; parents threatened with ax

Athens police responded Friday night to a shooting at an Athens home and found one man dead in an apparent act of self-defense.

Athens Police Chief Wayne Harper said Jason Bickerstaff, 38, of Athens came to the home of his mother and stepfather at 301 Gale Lane demanding a shotgun and threatening them with a double-bladed ax.

The incident occurred at about 8 p.m., when a neighbor reported hearing Bickerstaff drive up and later heard Bickerstaff’s mother, Linda Curtis, screaming. The neighbor said she did not hear any gunfire.

Bickerstaff’s stepfather, Dave Curtis, went into the bedroom to get the shotgun, Harper said. Bickerstaff followed and again threatened his stepfather with the ax and knocked him down. At that point, Dave Curtis retrieved a pistol he had in the bedroom and shot Bickerstaff, Harper said.

Limestone County Coroner Mike West said Bickerstaff had two gunshot wounds in his chest, both from a .38-caliber pistol.

After the shooting, Dave Curtis went outside to wait for Athens police to arrive, Harper said.

Harper said police are not yet sure why Bickerstaff was demanding the shotgun, but he said police had received a report earlier Friday that Bickerstaff had been involved in an altercation with someone over money.

Police were still investigating the case late Friday. Harper said there were no plans to charge Dave Curtis in the shooting.

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