Assault charges against a 70-year-old Sheffield businessman accused of shooting a man who tried to sell him jewelry have been dismissed by a recent Colbert County grand jury, officials said.
Colbert County District Attorney Bryce Graham Jr. said a grand jury “no billed” the case against Talton D. “Buddy” Zills, Southwest 12th Ave., Sheffield. “No bill” means the grand jury found there wasn’t enough evidence to indict, Graham said.
Zills was arrested in January and charged with first-degree assault after he was accused of shooting Charles “Chad” Thomas Miller, 29, of Annapolis Avenue, Sheffield, in the parking lot of Buddy’s Jewelry on Second Street, also in Sheffield.
Reports indicate Miller was shot once in the stomach with a 9 mm pistol. Miller has recovered from the gunshot wound, according to reports.
“Buddy and his family are very pleased with the case finally being over and getting this resolved,” said Florence attorney Tony Hughes, who represented Zills.
“Although I’m disappointed that the defendant is this case was not indicted I am not surprised,” Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said. “I apologize to the victim and his family for the outcome of this situation.”
Police said the shooting took place after Miller was accused of trying to sell jewelry to Zills. The two men reportedly argued over a suspicious signature before Zills was accused of pulling out a gun.
Authorities said Miller took the jewelry and left the business. Zills is accused of following Miller to the parking lot where witnesses told authorities Miller was attempting to get into his car when the shooting occurred.
Zills claimed he shot Miller in self-defense.
“He felt the man was trying to harm him,” Hughes said. “(Zills) believed Miller went for a weapon when he went to his car.”
Hughes said Zills testified before the grand jury and provided evidence he gathered during an investigation into the shooting.
“This was such a traumatic experience that he decided to close his business and retire,” Hughes said. “He is very pleased with the outcome and now he can get on with this life.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.