Five suspects in shooting murder ready to go to trial
Trial dates have not yet been set
The cases of five defendants charged in the shooting murder of Kawasikis Shawnte Ricks were determined to be ready to go to trial during a motion/status hearing in Newton County Superior Court on March 4.
Clarence Lamar Benton Jr., 18, Brandon Hudnal, 21, Terrance Tremaine Reid, 21, Marino Demtrious Tuggle, 17, and Tervarius Dexter White, 17, were charged with murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a felony.
The shooting occurred last June after Ricks was allegedly double crossed in a drug deal. Ricks and another man were supposed to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from a group of five men, who intended to rob him instead. Ricks was allegedly shot by White in the back with a shotgun as he tried to flee.
Reid had changed his defense attorney but his case was deemed ready to go to trial.
Benton had been previously charged with aiding and abiding in the shooting death of 15-yearold Martia Logan by hiding the suspect and helping dispose of the murder weapon.
The trial dates have yet to be set.
Brandon Hernandez, 23, and Toney Tumbling, 25, pled guilty in Newton County Superior Court on Feb. 26 to charges associated with the accidental but fatal shooting of an Oxford mother of three.
Tanya McCracken, 31, was sitting upstairs in her bedroom of her Oxford home on Feb. 2 when a stray bullet came in through the roof and fatally struck her. Hernandez and Tumbling had been shooting at a tree 150 yards away for target practice.
Hernandez was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of discharge of firearms near a public highway. He was sentenced to 10 years probation, five of those years to be served in confinement, with approximately $1,400 in monetary fines. The family of the victim is still determining the amount of restitution they’ll request. Hernandez was also required to have no contact the McCracken family or with Tumbling.
Tumbling was charged with reckless conduct and discharge of firearms on or near a public highway and received a sentence of two years probation and $1,514 in fines.
Xavier Damon Belcher, 26, was arraigned on charges of armed robbery and hijacking of a motor vehicle and had 12 years of probation for an earlier conviction of aggravated assault and burglary revoked, meaning he’ll have to serve that time in jail, in Newton County Superior Court on Feb. 21.
In the early morning hours around 6 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2007, Belcher allegedly held up Jeffery Davis, owner of Ozburn Electrical Services, with a semi-automatic handgun.
“He asked me some questions, asked if we were hiring, asked for a cigarette and then asked for my wallet,” testified Davis on the stand.
Belcher reportedly made off with Davis’ wallet, which contained $10, his cell phone, and his red 1998 Chevy truck, which had equipment including a power washer and a lawn mower in the bed.
A few hours later, a resident reported the truck abandoned on their property in a field. Newton County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Rogers saw a power washer and lawn mower on the porch of a house just a third of a mile from the abandoned truck. When he went to investigate, he saw a man matching the description of the perpetrator hurriedly go into a nearby house. Inside the house, the man began to fist-fight with the deputy and attempted to escape by hurling himself at the bedroom window, but was caught.