Three men hijacked a vehicle from a woman at a Columbus gas station less than 24 hours before authorities found a man’s body burned July 10 in the trunk of the car, authorities said.
Darious Jamal Robinson, 18, Marquis Lamar Johnson, 20, and Fredret Shamar Culliver, 17, were identified as the suspects arrested in the July 9 carjacking at 2936 North Lumpkin Road. No murder warrants have been issued in connection with the death.
Columbus police were called to the Big Cat Fuels gas station at 2936 North Lumpkin Road on July 9 to investigate a carjacking.
Sgt. Lance Deaton said the three men hijacked the woman’s 2006 Pontiac G6 outside of the gas station. Johnson allegedly aimed a weapon at the woman and demanded her property.
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Police said the suspects stole the woman’s wallet and keys before leaving in her car.
Robinson allegedly drove the stolen car to the Circle K at 2102 Wynnton Road. The other two suspects left the vehicle with weapons and robbed the gas station around 10:19 p.m. that night, according to police.
Deaton said Robinson drove them to a Circle K in Alabama, where police said all three of the men robbed the store.
Deaton said they found the body of 34-year-old Michael Fleming in the trunk of the Pontiac around 5:37 a.m. July 10 at the intersection of Harbison Drive and Head Street. The vehicle was burned and the body was charred beyond recognition with no facial features and no fingers, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said.
The body was transported to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy. It indicated that the man died from a gunshot wound to the head and another to the hip, the coroner stated.
Bryan said Fleming’s parents told officials a week after the incident that the homicide victim may be their son. Officials collected saliva from both parents that matched Fleming’s DNA, the coroner said.
His identity was confirmed on Monday, Bryan said.
Officials have charged the man who they said cleaned up the blood and evidence on the scene of the shooting.
Alexander Jackson, 56, pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence Tuesday morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
“It’s our understanding from witness testimony that he was instructed to get rid of the blood and the biological evidence that was left at the scene,” Deaton testified. “He poured accelerant on it, put it in the fire and stood over it for quite some time, constantly feeding the fire to make sure that the blood and the biological evidence was disposed of.”
No murder warrants have been issued in connection with the case and no additional information has been released by police.