Fla. man wanted in Ala. drag race shooting death


Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 2:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 2:14 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A Florida man is wanted on a capital murder warrant in the shooting death of an Alabama man who police say helped organize an illegal street race and was holding a large purse when one of the cars struck and killed a spectator.

Birmingham police said Ladipo Bethea of Gretna, Fla., who remained at large Wednesday, is accused of gunning down Anthony Lett, 26, in a dispute over a racing purse of at least $10,000 in the Jan. 13 race.

Investigators said Lett was holding the purse, which was put up by the drivers and their supporters, when one of the two drag racing vehicles went out of control and killed Lonnie King, 29, of Birmingham, who was videotaping the race in the Pratt City area.

After the crash, Lett wasn't sure who won the race but gave the purse to Bethea, who demanded the money, police said. Homicide Detective Jerry Williams said Bethea later shot Lett in an argument.

Police also said two race drivers were charged in the death of King, who was struck by one of the two Ford Mustangs after it lost control. Arrested were Brian Murphy, 27, of Elkmont, and Yardley Potter, 32, of Vernon, Fla.

Williams said Potter was driving the car that struck and killed King. He said Bethea was part of the Florida group that came to town to watch the race and support Potter.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top