Friends of Cottondale man who died from heart attack after home invasion speak out

COTTONDALE Ala. (WIAT) — Authorities are now investigating a home invasion in Tuscaloosa County as a homicide after one of the robbery victims suffered a heart attack and died.

Paul Hoggle and his wife are devastated. They are good friends and neighbors of the 77-year-old victim Willis Sample and his wife. The Hoggles live across the street from the victims’ house where the home invasion happened.

“It was hard, I couldn’t believe it happened. I didn’t know he has passed away until this morning. It just hurts to see somebody you’ve known all this time and somebody comes in and takes them away from you just like that,” Hoggle said.

Investigators with the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit say the crime happened Wednesday night on 55th Court East in Cottondale. Two men armed with a rifle and handgun came into the house and assaulted Willis Sample. As a result, he had a heart attack and died. His wife was taken to the hospital, but police say she was not injured in the home invasion.

Paul Hoggle wants justice for his friend.

“Well, I would like to see them arrested and be sent off for the rest of their lives, is what I would like to see done,” Hoggle said.

The two suspects stole a number of items and took the couple’s car. Police recovered the couple’s 2005 Mercury Marquis Thursday morning. Both men were wearing dark clothing and one of the suspects wore camouflage face paint.

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