Elmore City Man Accused Of Hiding Dismembered Body Arraigned

Friday, August 10th 2012, 6:31 pm

The man accused of killing his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend and then chopping up the body and putting it into buckets was arraigned in Garvin County Court Friday afternoon.

Justin Hammer is facing one count of murder.

OSBI agents recovered five 5-gallon buckets and a dog crate containing the body parts behind the suspect's house around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Investigators went searching for the evidence after they say they were tipped off by the suspect's best friend, who was asked to help get rid of the body.

Hammer appeared in front of a Gavin County judge by video on Friday afternoon. He entered a plea of ‘not guilty' to the murder charge, but investigators say he confessed to the crime. Hammer's family says they have no reason to believe it's not true.

8/9/2012 Related Story: Elmore City Man Accused Of Murdering, Dismembering Girlfriend's Ex

"I don't have much choice but to believe it, his father believes it, I believe it," said Hammer's grandfather who goes by the name "Papa Skeet."

According to court papers, Hammer said the victim, Brandon Duran, forced his way into Hammer's back door, and yelled at Hammer that ‘he was going to take care of him.'  That's when Hammer says he grabbed a .410 single-shot shotgun from his gun safe, and shot Duran in the face.

Hammer says he "freaked out" and didn't know what to do. So he got a saw and cut up the body, and then put it into five, five-gallon buckets and a dog crate, mixed cement and water in the buckets then dumped everything into a pond behind his house.

Hammer says he enlisted the help of a friend who helped Hammer load up the buckets and dog crate into Hammer's truck, but wouldn't help him dispose of the body. It was that friend who told police about the crime.

Prosecutors say they found several items belonging to Duran in a burn barrel behind the house, and blood stains throughout Hammer's residence.

"I think it's awful, sick to think someone can do something like that," said Cindy Stevens.

The brutality of the crime has shaken the tiny town of Elmore City and Hammer's family.

"There's still a lot of questions, you know, that I may never know, but at this point in time, it's just unreal, unbelievable," said Hammer's grandfather.

Hammer's brother was found dead in a pond about a year ago. That death was ruled accidental. Hammer's grandfather tells News 9 these newest developments bring up a lot of questions for him surrounding that death.