The two murder suspects charged in the shootout at the Columbus Pawn Shop were allegedly trying to rob the business of guns during the Dec. 20 incident, according to testimony Wednesday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Marquiell Wilson, 21, 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.
His plea comes nearly a week after a 15-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder.
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Authorities were called to the Columbus Pawn Shop at 2241 Fort Benning Road around 12:05 p.m. Dec. 20 to investigate a shooting. They found 68-year-old Joseph Howard Johnson III unresponsive inside of the business with a single gunshot wound to the head.
The part-time employee was pronounced dead on the scene at 12:30 p.m., Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Charles Newton said.
Sgt. Anthony Locey said a second male employee was found outside of the business suffering from a gunshot wound to his left arm. The 15-year-old was found wounded in the middle of Torch Hill Road, just west of the shop, and Wilson was found in a wooded area behind Eagle Trace Apartments suffering from a gunshot wound to the right leg.
He was allegedly found with a bookbag, sweatshirt and some other items. Officials also located a 9 mm firearm they believe was used in the deadly shooting.
Locey said authorities have reviewed surveillance video that shows the entire incident, and it shows Wilson wearing the same clothing in the video that he was dressed in when he was found near the business.
“We could also see his face clearly,” Locey told the court.
During the hearing last week, Cpl. Sherman Hayes said the suspects entered the pawn shop and tried to sell an amp, but the business declined. They returned to the establishment about 30 minutes later, according to police.
The 15-year-old allegedly reported that he and Wilson returned to the shop the second time because Wilson wanted to see if the business would be willing to purchase anything else.
Locey said Wilson told detectives that they intended to rob the business of firearms.
“Upon entering the business for a second time, just a few seconds were spent before gunfire was opened on Mr. Joseph Johnson,” Hayes testified.
Police said the suspects “continued their activity inside the business” as more shots were fired, wounding the second employee.
“The employee then returned gunfire in subsequence,” Hayes said. “At which time, several rounds of ammunition were exchanged between the two parties. During the gunfire, the 15-year-old and the second suspect fled the business.”