Trevon Brown's identification as a suspect in the Jan. 24 murder of Troy Saunders came not from the surviving Phenix City, Ala. victim, but from his alleged co-conspirators, according to court testimony.
After two continued hearings, 19-year-old Brown pleaded not guilty to his charges of murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime during a Tuesday morning hearing. He was taken into custody Jan. 28 after he turned himself in to police.
An investigator told the court that police received a distress call from the Warm Springs Super 8 Motel shortly after midnight, which was quickly followed by another call from the victim, who had driven down Gentian Boulevard before crashing near the Burger King across from Peachtree Mall.
When police arrived, they found 39-year-old Saunders suffering from fatal gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A surviving passenger from Phenix City called out to investigators from an undisclosed hiding place near the roadway after authorities arrived. He told police he was with Saunders during the shooting, but was uninjured.
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The passenger told police Saunders drove him to the Super 8 Motel to buy marijuana. During the exchange, the four suspects allegedly attempted to rob the victims. Saunders and his passenger attempted to flee in their Buick Century as the suspects opened fire.
Investigators quickly arrested 17-year-old Neisha Jones and her alleged boyfriend, 20-year-old Mayson Gibson. During questioning, the couple allegedly implicated Brown and 19-year-old Christopher Wommack. Police identified Wommack as Jones' brother during the hearing.
Jones allegedly told investigators that she had been communicating with the Phenix City man over various forms of social media for an undisclosed amount of time. Both Jones and Gibson reportedly told investigators that the group planned all along to rob Saunders and the Phenix City man.
She also told police that Gibson, Jones and Wommack were in possession of the only weapons on scene. Gibson later said that Jones and Wommack had fired the shots responsible for Saunders' death.
Police requested Judge Michael Cielinski allow them to conceal the caliber of the guns used, as well as the number of shots fired, citing an ongoing investigation. Officers did confirm casings found at the scene were from different calibers.
Cielinski set no bond on Brown's murder charge. Bond for his other charges has been set at $75,000.
Police are still searching for 19-year-old Christopher Wommack, who is described as a 5-foot-11 black man who weighs about 172 pounds. He should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with more information should contact Investigative Services at 706-653-3400.