A Columbus man was charged Wednesday with hindering the arrest of a murder suspect after police said he rented a car to help a fugitive.
Christopher Culler, 29, was arrested after police were notified about a car rental which occurred Sunday at Budget Rent a Car, 3250 W. Britt David Road. Culler is being held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail for a 9 a.m. hearing today in Columbus Recorder's Court.
Police said Culler rented a 2012 blue Subaru Legacy from the business with the intent to assist murder suspect Jody M. Perry. Perry is wanted in connection with the March 2011 shooting death of Blanchard Thomas, a Pittsview, Ala., pastor who was found dead under the Oglethorpe Bridge near Golden Park. The pastor died of a gunshot wound to his right cheek.
A police investigation into the death revealed that the pastor had given a woman a ride from Phenix City to the Booker T. Washington Apartments, where he was forced to drive to the bridge.
Four other people are already charged in connection with the death.
They are Donnie McQuinn Forte, 53, Michael McCoy Ingram, 60, Joel Thomas, 24, and Keedra Shanae Brummit, 22.
The men face charges of malice murder, felony murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Brummit is charged with one count each of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
The arrest of Culler comes almost a month after Tiffeney Perry, the mother of Jody Perry, was arrested on the same charge of renting a car to assist the fugitive.
Police didn't immediately know the relationship between Culler and the fugitive Jody Perry.
Culler was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at his apartment on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Police said officers were able to seize the rented vehicle used by the fugitive but Perry escaped.
Anyone who knows the location of Perry is asked to call police or Columbus Crime Stoppers at 706-653-3188.
Tipsters may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Perry is considered armed and dangerous.