4 charged in murder,
Two defendants each said the other pulled the trigger, one originally saying it was a hit gone bad and the other claiming they were after $100,000 and drugs. A third said she didn’t see who did the shooting because she was circling the block in the getaway car. A 4th asked for a lawyer before making too many comments to police.
Preliminary hearings were held Wednesday in Circuit Court in Guntersville in the capital murder trial of 4 Gadsden residents. They are charged with killing Willie Coleman Jr., 22, during a robbery attempt in Alder Springs early on Jan. 9.
But while there were differing stories that will be hashed out later, Judge Tim Jolley said he heard enough evidence to send all 4 cases to the grand jury.
He ordered the 4 defendants to be held in jail without bond. They are Jamichael Kinchen, 23, Shontavius “Baby Shon’’ Williams, 22, Maya Morris, 20; and Derunteze “D’’ Parker, 25.
Albertville police detective Tammy Nash was the lead investigator in the murder at a house owned by James Meadows at 659 Valley View. She was the lone witness called by district attorney Steve Marshall.
Officer Nash said a neighbor called 911 to alert police to a possible crime. At the house, she said, “Mr. Coleman was slumped against the refrigerator in the kitchen. He had been shot in the face.’’ Shotgun pellets and wadding under the belt were removed from his body.
Detectives noticed items missing. Mr. Meadows later said his Vizio and Samsung TVs and an X-box, as well as a MAC-11 submachine pistol that belonged to Mr. Williams, were missing.
Officer Nash said an autopsy revealed Mr. Coleman died of a shotgun wound. She later said DNA tests on a hat found at the scene and ballistic tests had not been completed.
DETECTIVE NASH said she received a call on Jan. 10 from the Boaz jail saying Mr. Kinchen wanted to provide details of the murder. Mr. Kinchen, who had told her he was in jail because of an old ticket, now wanted to provide new information in exhange for being released.
Mr. Kinchen told detectives the killing was a hit carried out by Mr. Williams, who was supposed to kill Mr. Meadows instead at the request of Jewel Machen. Ms. Machen and Mr. Meadows have a child together. That story soon unravelled and Mr. Kinchen allegedly told a different version that implicated all 4 defendants. He was arrested on the murder charge on Jan. 11, and the rest soon followed.
Here are summaries of final interviews given to police as told in court by Detective Nash:
MR. KINCHEN said the 4 left Gadsden and went to the house with intent to rob but not kill. He, Mr. Williams and Mr. Parker went into the house, where Mr. Williams punched Mr. Coleman and knocked him to the ground. Mr. Coleman refused to put his hands behind his back so Mr. Williams could zip-tie them together. Mr. Williams then picked up Mr. Coleman, shoved him into the refrigerator and shot him.
Mr. Kinchen and Mr. Parker ran back to the car and left with Ms. Morris, while Mr. Williams fled into the woods. They later reunited and returned to the house. As Mr. Kinchen sat in the car, Mr. Williams and Mr. Parker went into the house and stole items.
MS. MORRIS said Mr. Kinchen was talking about “hitting a lick,’’ or robbing, and that she had texted Mr. Coleman about meeting at the house. She said they had seen a photo of Mr. Meadows on Instagram with a lot of cash and she knew he would be out of town, and Mr. Coleman could provide entry for the robbery.
The 4 went to Albertville with her driving the car. She let the 3 out and Mr. Kinchen had a long gun (shotgun) and at least one of the others carried a small gun. As she drove around the block Mr. Kinchen called and said, “Come get us, Baby Shon shot Willie.’’ She later dropped off Mr. Parker and returned to the house with Mr. Williams and Mr. Kinchen.
MR. WILLIAMS said he met Mr. Kinchen at Wal-Mart in Gadsden and was told they would rob a house where there was $100,000 and drugs. Later, with Mr. Kinchen giving instructions, Mr. Williams was directed to hide on the left side of the house and the other 2 went to the right and waited on Mr. Coleman to come home. Mr. Williams said he was still outside when he saw a flash from inside the house. He fled into the woods and eventually called the others to come back and get him and they returned to Gadsden.
Mr. Kinchen said since they had not taken anything they should go back to the house. That was when he saw Mr. Coleman dead and put “2-and-2” together (regarding the flash). He said Mr. Kinchen kept the items they took, and on the way back to Gadsden Mr. Kinchen instructed him to get out of the car and retrieve the shotgun Mr. Kinchen had earlier thrown out the window.
(A handgun in the vicinity was later discovered by a neighbor).
MR. PARKER told detectives he was at the scene before stopping and asking for an attorney.
Detective Nash said video from Wal-Mart prior to the incident showed Mr. Kinchen buying zip-ties and Mr. Williams stealing a black bandana. She also said the stolen merchandise, except for the MAC-11, was recovered at an apartment where another of Mr. Kinchen’s girlfriends lives.
She said a phone at the apartment, which belonged to Mr. Kinchen, included a photo of a MAC-11.
Each defendant is represented by local counsel and one more attorney familiar with capital murder cases.
If indicted by the grand jury, each will be tried seperately. Judge Jolley said the 4 were brought into the preliminary hearing at the same time for “the sake of saving time and for scheduling.’’