A dispute about a woman led to the Saturday morning shooting near Veterans Parkway where a Fort Benning solider was killed, according to testimony Thursday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Marcus Wiggins, 27, pleaded not guilty to murder. He was ordered held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.
Judge Julius Hunter bound the case over to Superior Court.
Columbus Police said Donald Matthews, a 26-year-old human resource specialist with Fort Benning, was suffering from three gunshot wounds when his brother transported him to the Midtown Medical Center around 1:49 a.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about four hours later at 6:36 a.m.
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Detective Joseph Austin said further investigation indicated that Matthews and his brother were at the TGI Friday’s at 3116 Adams Farm Drive earlier that night when Matthews started receiving text messages from Wiggins.
Police said the texts were about a woman Matthews was dating at the time. Austin said she was Wiggins co-worker and may have had an intimate relationship with him at some point.
Austin said Matthews and his brother left TGI Friday’s but returned moments later, because Wiggins was supposed to be meeting him at the restaurant to talk. When Wiggins arrived, there was an argument between the two men, according to police.
One eye-witness told authorities that Matthews had his shirt off ready to fight Wiggins, but officials said “no strikes were landed.”
According to police, Matthews left with his brother before Wiggins did. The three men spotted each other at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Victory Drive.
“Mr. Donald Matthews exited his vehicle and walked to the driver’s side of Mr. Wiggins vehicle,” Austin testified. “At that time, (the victim’s brother) said Marcus shot Donald Matthews several times. Donald Matthews then staggered back to the vehicle, and (his brother) drove him to Midtown Medical Center.”
Authorities are working on getting surveillance videos from the businesses in the area that may have recorded the shooting. They have received one surveillance video from a Marathon gas station, but Austin said it doesn’t show the homicide.
Warrants were issued for Wiggins after police received a statement Matthews brother about the incident.
Around 6:09 p.m., Austin received a call from Opelika police about Wiggins being taken into custody in their jurisdiction.
“During the arrest, I was advised by the Opelika Police Department that Marcus Wiggins made an utterance to an officer on the scene that the gun he used to kill the guy in Columbus was located in the vehicle,” Austin testified.
The detectives said police located a firearm and two shell casings in the gray 2006 Ford Mustang Wiggins was driving during the incident.
Attorney Stacey Jackson, who represented Wiggins, said the victim got into an argument with his client about a woman that Matthews used to date. He said that woman wasn’t dating Matthews at the time, because he allegedly abused her.
He said the woman told her coworkers about the the abuse, and asked Austin if he was aware of that.
“As far as the abuse part, I do not know if that’s correct,” Austin responded.
Jackson told the judge that his client had a right to defend himself, because Matthews approached his vehicle with the intent to attack Wiggins. Hunter said that will be for a grand jury to decide.