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Man with ties to Alabama GOP charged with murder, sexual torture

The Madison County Sheriff's Office said the victim and the suspect knew each other and that an altercation is what led to one man's death.
Crime scene tape with blurred police lights in the background
Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 11, 2024

A 36-year-old Alabama man who was involved with a local chapter of the state’s Young Republicans organization has been accused of murder and sexual torture. 

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to a call Thursday morning after a man was found dead in a home on Capshaw Road in the Harvest area, located in the northern part of the state. 

Deputies identified the deceased man as 54-year-old Derek Franklin Walls of Harvest. They subsequently arrested and charged Kyle Hayden Lewter with murder in connection to Walls's death, although autopsy findings have not been released to the public yet. 

The sheriff’s office said the two men knew each other and a physical altercation is what led to Walls’s death. 

Lewter was later charged with sexual torture in addition to murder, though officials have not said why or even if that charge is related to the death of Walls.  

Lewter is being held at the Madison County Jail Facility, where he was ineligible for bond based on Alabama’s Aniah’s Law, which allows a judge to deny bail to violent offenders accused of crimes ranging from murder to sexual offenses.

Several media outlets have reported on Lewter’s ties to the Alabama GOP. Television news station WHNT, an ABC affiliate in Huntsville, said finance records show he worked a paid position on Alabama State Senator Tom Butler’s campaign. 

The Madison County Young Republicans Facebook page lists Lewter as its chairman and follows what appears to be Lewter’s personal page. 

Photos on social media appear to show Lewter accepting an award on behalf of the Madison County Young Republicans group in 2022 when it was named the Alabama Young Republicans “Club of the Year.” 

Scripps News has reached out to representatives for the Madison County Young Republicans, the Madison County Republican Party, and the Young Republican Federation of Alabama, but did not hear back at the time of this article’s posting. 

Madison County Sheriff's Office