PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Buried alive under a foot of dirt and bleeding from a throat wound, Forrest "Butch" Bowyer wouldn't give up. Not with his son's killers still on the loose.
So Bowyer, 54, clawed his way to freedom, flagged down a car and helped police arrest the men he said dumped him and the body of his son in the same shallow grave.
Based on Bowyer's information, two men were captured and charged with murder Monday.
"It was God's way of keeping him alive so he could tell," said Billy Carrico, a friend. "If he hadn't survived we might never have known what happened to him."
Bowyer underwent surgery and was expected to recover.
Michael David Carruth, 43, and Jimmy Lee Brooks Jr., 22, are charged with capital murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted of fatally shooting Bowyer's 12-year-old son, Brett.
The two men also face charges of attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping, officials said. Both were being held without bond, Sheriff Tommy Boswell said Tuesday.
A third man, James Edward Gary, also will be charged with capital murder.
Carruth, who works as a bounty hunter for his wife's bonding company, and Brooks showed up at Bowyer's brick, ranch-style home late Sunday night claiming to be narcotics officers, Boswell said.
The men targeted Bowyer for a robbery and kidnapping because he owns a used-car lot and has a reputation for carrying large amounts of cash, Boswell said.
The men allegedly forced Bowyer and his son into a car and drove about 20 miles south of town to an area where a highway is being widened. After Bowyer gave them money, the men slit his throat and shoved him into a grave they had dug about 18 inches deep, Boswell said.
Bowyer was slashed "ear to ear," but the cut wasn't deep enough to sever any major blood vessels, Boswell said. "He played dead."
Bowyer heard gunshots, and his son's body was pushed into the hole on top of him. Boswell said the killers covered the grave with dirt, and Bowyer began digging his way out as soon as they left.
"He was in there about 10, 15 minutes," Boswell said.
Bowyer managed to unearth his son's body and walked about one-fourth of a mile through woods to U.S. 431, where he flagged down a car.
"He called us on a cell phone and I had a deputy two miles away. We got an ambulance there but he wouldn't leave until he showed us where the body was," Boswell said.
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