Five sus­pects in shoot­ing mur­der ready to go to trial

Trial dates have not yet been set

The Covington News - - Crime & Courts - By Michelle Kim

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.

Ac­ci­den­tal shoot­ing

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.

Armed rob­bery

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.

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