The case involving two men who reportedly invaded an Evans Street home Oct. 8, 2014 was heard in Recorder's Court Friday morning.
Columbus suspects Kenneth Earl Cotton, 19, and Eddie Stewart, 21, pleaded not guilty to one count each of first-degree home invasion, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and first-degree burglary.
Recorder's Court Judge Michael Cielinski issued both suspects a $20,000 bond for the weapon charge but denied bond for the remaining indictments.
Judge Cielinski bounded each case over to Superior Court.
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On Oct. 8, 2014, the home invasion victim, who lives in the 4500 block of Evans Street, heard someone knocking on her door, Columbus Police Officer Sgt. Lance Deaton told the court.
Home alone, she looked outside of her dwelling and noticed an unfamiliar vehicle nearby. She didn't answer the door and went to the bathroom instead, Deaton testified.
When she left the restroom, she saw two men, one masked, walking through her hallway at about 1:25 p.m. The man who was not wearing a mask walked in front of the other offender and pointed a handgun weapon at the woman, Deaton told the court.
Then both men fled the scene without harming the woman, Deaton said.
"She believes that she startled them as she came out," Deaton told the judge. "They felt like that there was probably no one home, because they had been knocking on the door before they forced entry."
Police were called to the home and processed the crime scene.
Deaton said officials noticed that the east facing door had been forced open, leading them to believe that the suspects used the door to enter and exit the Evans Street residence. Later on, they found Cotton and Stewart's fingerprints on the same door, he added. Police showed images of the Cotton and Stewart to all three residents of the Evans Street home. The residents said they have never met any of suspects, and the men were never invited to visit their dwelling.
Both suspects were arrested Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Muscogee County Jail, where they were being held for other offenses, Deaton said.
Further investigation showed that Cotton is a suspected Gangster Disciples 7414 gang member who resides in a Steam Mills Road residence close to the home he reportedly invaded, Deaton said.
Deaton said Cotton was out on bond for multiple unrelated burglaries and a carjacking incident . Stewart also has a criminal history involving burglaries, the officer added.
Represented by public defender Charles Lykins, Stewart and Cotton did not testify in Recorder's Court Friday.