$300K bonds set for two Super 8 shooting suspects

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 28, 2014 

A Muscogee County Superior Court judge set bond for two of the four suspects in the shooting death of 39-year-old Troy Saunders of Fort Mitchell, Ala., two months ago at a Warm Springs Road motel parking lot.

Niesha Janae Jones, now 18, and Trevon “Trey” Brown, 19, were given $300,000 bonds each on the murder charges by Judge Arthur Smith on Friday.

Mayson Gibson, Jones’ 20-year-old boyfriend, and Christopher Wommack, Jones' brother, have pleaded not guilty in Recorder's Court and are being held in the Muscogee County Jail without bond.

Jones, who was a 17-year-old Carver High School senior at the time of the shooting, has an additional $75,000 in bonds on an aggravated assault charge and two weapons charges. Brown, who was working at Sam's Club at the time of his arrest, has an additional $100,000 in bonds.

Smith said he would reconsider reducing the bond in a month if the suspects have not been indicted. Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lamburtus told the court it was unlikely that Jones and Brown would be indicted in the next month.

Jones' attorney, Michael Garner, argued his client had no gun and little involvement in the alleged crime. He said it was a drug-deal gone awry. "She was in car with the guy who was shot buying marijuana," Garner said.

Garner told the court that the other three suspects had guns at the time of the shooting.

Jones is not a flight risk and made a statement to police during the investigation, Garner told the court. Jones is willing to take responsibility for her role in the incident, Garner stated.

Attorney Tim Flournoy asked for reasonable bond for Brown, saying, "These are serious charges, but he is seriously considered innocent until proven guilty."

The shooting happened Jan. 24 shooting at the Super 8 Motel. Jones was snatched from the 2000 Buick Century driven by the victim before Wommack fired shots into the vehicle, a Columbus police detective testified in an earlier court hearing. Wommack has pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder, aggravated assault, two counts of criminal attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm charge during the commission of a crime.

In previous court testimony, Columbus Police Sgt. Robert Taft told the court that Saunders and a 21-year-old Phenix City man went to the motel after arranging to meet Jones for a date and smoke some marijuana. Jones was inside the Buick with the two men when Wommack, Gibson and Brown appeared from another vehicle in the parking lot around 12:38 a.m.

Taft said the three men, all armed with guns, planned to rob the two men.

Jones was pulled from the vehicle before shots were fired into the Buick driven by Saunders. Wommack, armed with a revolver, told police he fired twice inside the car as it sped from the parking lot.

Taft said police found shell casings in the parking lot but couldn’t state whether they have been matched to the weapon in the shooting. The detective also wouldn’t disclose the caliber of the weapon that Wommack admitted to firing.

When police checked on Saunders inside his car, the victim was unresponsive and appeared dead, Taft said. Saunders had a gunshot wound to his neck. The Phenix City passenger, who was found on the sidewalk near the car, told police he also was a victim of the shooting in the motel parking lot.

The passenger wasn’t injured by the gunshots, according to previous testimony.

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