Argument leads to shooting deaths of couple in Alabama

MOBILE, Ala. -- Witnesses said a man and his former wife were shot to death over an argument about the Alabama-Louisiana State University football game, though a spokesman for the slain man's family disputed that Monday.

"Basing it on this ballgame is totally false," said Shannon Odom, the half-brother of Dennis James Smith.

Smith, 41, and Donna Kaye Hall Smith, 39, were shot to death about 7 p.m. Saturday in the rural community of Owassa in southern Alabama, the Conecuh County sheriff's office said. The two divorced about five years ago but had recently gotten back together and were planning to remarry, Odom said.

Michael W. Williams, 28, was charged with two counts of murder in the shooting at his home, where he and others had watched the game. He was being held Monday without bond and a sheriff's investigator did not know if he had an attorney.

People at Williams' home said the dispute was over the game, which Alabama won 27-21 in overtime, an investigator said. Witnesses said Williams was an Alabama fan and Dennis Smith rooted for LSU, but Odom disputed that, describing Smith as an "adamant Tide fan."

Odom said the problem may have been between Smith and a co-worker of his who is related to Williams and was at Williams' home Saturday. Authorities also said Donna Smith was related to Williams' girlfriend.

"I think there's more to it than just the ballgame," Conecuh County Sheriff Edwin Booker said. "We're still investigating."

An investigator said alcohol may have been a factor.

According to witnesses, Dennis Smith called Williams after the game, and the Smiths went to Williams' home, where a fight led to the shooting. Dennis Smith had a pistol and Williams had a shotgun, authorities said.

In the phone call, someone reportedly said, "Alabama just got lucky and LSU should have won," though it wasn't clear who said it.

Booker said Smith "jumped out of his truck and hit Williams."

Odom said the Smiths were driving to another town to visit a family member and he didn't know why they stopped at Williams' home.

He said Donna Smith had just called her mother to talk about the game.

"Everything was cool," he said. "Next thing we know, they're dead."