The teen charged with involuntary manslaughter in what police described as an accidental fatal shooting pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Recorder’s Court. Jarrett Marshall, the 19-year-old defendant, provided a brief explanation for the Friday incident that killed Trenton Lamar Hill a day after his 21st birthday.
“It was an accident,” Marshall testified during the preliminary hearing.
The suspect was placed in the Muscogee County Jail under a $5,000 bond. The case was bound over to Superior Court.
Columbus Police Detective Joby Duncan said police were called to the Walgreens at 4808 Buena Vista Road Sunday at about 6:31 p.m. in reference to an individual with a possible self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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When officers arrived on the scene, they found Hill with a gunshot wound to his chest, left wrist and chin. He was transported to the Midtown Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Duncan said.
Hill lost a substantial amount of blood after pellets hit an artery in his neck, according to officials.
Police spoke to the defendant and a witness about the shooting and they indicated that it was a “self-inflicted or possible accidental shooting on the victim’s behalf,” Duncan testified.
The defendant and witness reported that they were at the Hill’s resident in the 700 block of Andrea Drive to work on vehicle. They reportedly told authorities that they saw Hill with a shotgun, got distracted and then hear the weapon discharge.
The two went on to say that they placed Hill in a vehicle to take him to the hospital for treatment. The witness called 9-1-1 during the trip there, and the dispatcher advised him that they would send an ambulance to the Walgreens at 4808 Buena Vista Road, Duncan said.
Police doubted their story, because the injuries did not appear to be self-inflicted, Duncan said.
The witness eventually admitted that Marshall caused the accidental shooting on the evening the three were gathered at Hill’s house.
“[The witness] stated that when he pulled up into the driveway to park, the victim had an assortment of assault rifles positioned all around him in the front porch carport area,” Duncan said. “He’s is a gun enthusiast.”
Officials were told that the victim was inside of the vehicle smoking a cigarette, and the witness opened the door to the vehicle. Hill allegedly pointed an assault rifle in the witness’ direction, and the witness replied, “What are you doing?”
“The victim stated that I’m waiting for you to cross my line of sight,” Duncan testified. “[The witness] stated that he didn’t pay him any attention, because he’s always doing stuff like that so it wasn’t anything unusual.” Authorities said the witness was between Marshall and Hill as the two jokingly pointed rifles at each other. The witness said he believes he saw Hill place the gun down, but he was distracted by his phone at the time.
“He stated that he observed a muzzle blast coming from the shotgun the defendant was holding,” Duncan said. “He couldn’t say at that point in time, for certain, if the defendant was still pointing the gun at him.”
The witness told officials there was no confrontation prior to the shooting, so he strongly believes it was an accident.
An arrest warrant for Marshall was issued Friday night. He turned himself in to authorities at the Public Safety Center Sunday at 10:30 a.m.