Niesha Janae Jones, a 17-year-old murder suspect at the center of the Jan. 24 shooting at the Super 8 Motel, was snatched from the 2000 Buick Century driven by the victim before Christopher Wommack fired shots into the vehicle, a Columbus police detective testified in Columbus Recorder’s Court Friday.
Wommack, 19, is the fourth suspect held in the shooting that left 39-year-old Troy Saunders of Fort Mitchell, Ala., dead after his car fled from the parking lot at 2935 Warm Springs Road and stopped a quarter-mile away near Burger King in front of Peachtree Mall. Wommack, the brother of Jones, 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.
Judge Mary Buckner ordered Wommack held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on the murder charge and set bonds totaling more than $65,000 on the other charges that were bound over to Muscogee County Superior Court.
Two other suspects, Mayson Gibson, Jones’ 20-year-old boyfriend, and Trevon “Trey” Brown, 19, already face similar charges in the shooting death.
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. He was not in court Friday.
Represented by public defender Charles Lykins, Wommack stood silent during the hearing.