A man was accused of killing his longtime friend after getting into a dispute with a DJ at her New Year’s Eve party, according to testimony Thursday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Tommy McNeal, 65, pleaded not guilty to murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during a crime, aggravated assault and theft by receiving stolen property. He was ordered held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.
Judge Julius Hunter bound over the case to Superior Court.
Columbus police were called to the 2900 block of Colorado Street around 12:28 p.m. Jan. 1 to investigate a shooting. They found 63-year-old Nancy Johnson and her daughter suffering from a gunshot wound.
Both were rushed to Midtown Medical Center, where Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Charles Newton said Johnson was pronounced dead about an hour later. Her 44-year-old daughter was treated and released.
Cpl. Katina Williams said McNeal tried to join Johnson’s New Year’s Eve party three times, but his longtime friend, Nancy, rejected him each time. Witnesses said he was intoxicated and belligerent. When he returned to the residence for the third time, he allegedly got into an altercation with the DJ.
Williams said Johnson told him to leave and pushed him out the front door, causing him to stumble. That’s allegedly when he fired three shots through the closed door, striking the woman in her torso and leg.
When the victim’s daughter heard about the shooting, she went to McNeal to confront him about the incident. He allegedly shot her in the right leg in the front yard.
Officials issued warrants for his arrest.
Authorities responded to the 2700 of Lumpkin Court around 4 p.m. Jan. 3 after someone notified them that McNeal was inside a home on Kendrick Avenue armed with a gun.
Authorities had a SWAT team assist them with the arrest after learning McNeal was convicted of killing a police officer in Tennessee in 1975.
Maj. JD Hawk said a negotiator convinced McNeal to come outside of the home. Police said the suspect wasn’t armed —they found the weapon used in the deadly shooting at the residence. It was .45 caliber Smith & Wesson firearm which was reported stolen Dec. 5, authorities said.
Hawk said McNeal wasn’t injured during the standoff, but he was treated at Midtown Medical Center for health reasons before being booked into the jail.
In an interview with detectives, McNeal allegedly said he was intoxicated at the party and left his leather jacket and hat there. He told police that Johnson put him out without his property.
“He stated that when he got outside, he started to feel kind of dizzy,” Williams testified. “He remembered speaking to the victim of the aggravated assault, but he doesn’t remember any details of the conversation. He kind of remembered that she may have asked him, ‘Do you know who shot my mother?’ ”
McNeal didn’t testify in court.