Attorney for Peachtree Mall shooting suspect says client is working mother who maintains her innocence
Three alleged gang members indicted this week in a March 26 fatal shooting at Columbus’ Peachtree Mall have previous drug charges, and one was arrested last year with a murder suspect who was out on bond, according to court and jail records.
A Muscogee County grand jury this week indicted Tekoa Chantrell Young, Xzavaien Trevon Jones and Terell Raquez McFarland in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Meredith, who was gunned down at the 3131 Manchester Expressway shopping center’s southwest entrance.
Meredith, who had been shopping with his 3-year-old daughter the Saturday before Easter, had at least eight gunshot wounds when he died at 8:05 p.m. at Midtown Medical Center, authorities said. The shooting was reported at 7:28 p.m.
McFarland, 25, the oldest of the three suspects, was indicted Tuesday on charges of murder, aggravated assault and violating the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Police are still hunting for him.
Young, 23, and Jones, 18, face those same charges, with Jones also accused of using a firearm to commit a felony. They are in the Muscogee County Jail.
Their indictment alleges each is associated with the Crips street gang. During Jones’ April 20 preliminary hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court, investigators said they suspected Meredith’s homicide was vengeance for the 2015 slaying of Christopher Twitty, fatally shot Nov. 21 at his Wickam Drive home.
Twitty was in the Crips, and brought Jones into the group, police said. No one has been charged in Twitty’s death.
Court records show Jones was arrested Aug. 22, 2015, while riding on Columbus’ Rigdon Road in a Mercedes Benz 8320 with Mayson Deandrea Gibson, then 22. Each was charged with possessing cocaine and less than an ounce of marijuana. Gibson also was charged with violating the city noise ordinance for playing his car stereo too loudly.
Gibson at the time was free on $70,000 bond, having been charged in the Jan. 24, 2014, fatal shooting of Troy Saunders during an attempted robbery outside Columbus’ Super 8 Motel, 2935 Warm Springs Road. This past July 5, he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He was among four suspects in the shooting of Saunders, 39, of Fort Mitchell, Ala., who had given his friend Joey Wilkes a ride to the motel to meet Niesha Jones, Gibson’s girlfriend at the time.
Also charged in Saunders’ death were Christopher Womack, Jones’ brother, and Trevon Brown.
Jones, who was 17 in 2014, testified at Womack’s trial this past May, when he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. She since has been freed from jail with credit for the two years she was incarcerated after Saunders’ death. Brown and Gibson pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on July 6, when each was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Womack also was sentenced to 20 years after his manslaughter conviction.
At Womack’s trial, Jones testified that Gibson in 2014 suggested she use counterfeit money to buy marijuana from Wilkes, who on his Facebook page had posted photos of the drug, along with guns and cash.
Online Wilkes and Jones arranged to meet at the motel, where Jones told Wilkes she had rented a room in which they could smoke marijuana. After Wilkes, 21, of Phenix City, got Saunders to give him a ride, Jones met them in the motel’s rear parking lot, where Gibson, Womack and Brown tried to rob the two.
When Saunders saw gunmen rushing toward his Buick Century, he panicked, cranking the car to speed away as Womack and Brown opened fire. One bullet hit Saunders in the neck. He got about a quarter-mile away, near the Burger King at 3101 Gentian Blvd., before he bled to death.
Jones and Gibson were arrested that night. Brown surrendered to police the following Jan. 28, and Womack was arrested in early February 2014.
According to jail records, Gibson was released on bond in Saunders’ murder on Nov. 6, 2014. Jones apparently was free on bond on the 2015 drug charges he and Gibson shared when Meredith fatally was shot at Peachtree Mall.
Court records show Columbus police arrested Young on Jan. 22, 2015, on charges of possessing 112 grams of marijuana worth an estimated $2,240, plus a smoking device, cigarette wrappers and a scale. Her bonds were set at $5,250 the following Feb. 12, and she was indicted on those charges this past May 17.
Records show Columbus police charged McFarland Feb. 18, 2015, with having 45 grams of marijuana, a digital scale and baggies. He was indicted this past Jan. 19 with having a drug-related device and having a handgun while committing a crime, plus misdemeanor drug possession. The gun was a 9mm Smith & Wesson, investigators said.
McFarland’s bond was revoked Aug. 2 when he failed to show up for court. By then police were hunting him for Meredith’s homicide.
Police ask that anyone who sees McFarland call 911 or contact detectives at 706-653-3400.