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Man fatally shot friend in Ladonia then crashed car after police chase, sheriff says

benw@ledger-enquirer.com

The suspect in Thursday’s shooting of Keith Ledon Miles pulled out a pistol on Will Avenue and fired on his friend after days of binging on drugs, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said Friday.

Roger Jay Jones, 36, fled from the Ladonia area about 9:30 p.m. and sent Phenix City police on a seven to eight-mile chase before his white 2004 Cadillac Deville crashed on Fifth Avenue, the sheriff said. He was taken into custody without further incident, charged with murder in the death of Miles, 37, and held in the Russell County Jail.

During a 4 p.m. news conference with members of the Miles family looking on, Taylor said Jones was standing in a crowd before he started shooting a .22-caliber pistol in the direction of Miles about 9:22 p.m. and he was struck one time. “We have spoken with Mr. Jones and we have been able to get his side of what happened,” the sheriff said. “We do feel like we will be talking with him a little more but he did give us enough information to charge him with the murder. We have several witnesses to this case. We have already interviewed several of them.”

Miles was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at 10:30 p.m. at Piedmont Columbus Regional’s midtown campus, Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. said. His body was transported to the Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery , Ala., for an autopsy.

When asked about a motive in the shooting, Taylor said he believes investigators will be able to show that Jones was probably under the influence of narcotics and he was in a paranoid state. “I believe that evidence will show that was a main contributor to what he did,” he said.

Family members asked the sheriff to attend the news conference and were allowed to talk about Miles.

Patricia Miles, an aunt standing with Miles’ mother Betty, said her nephew was a fine young man. “He never bothered nobody,” she said. “When you see him, he speaks . He would show you gold in his mouth. He would hand you money and you don’t even ask for it. He don’t bother nobody. This incident is senseless.”

His uncle Roosevelt Miles said he was a good boy. “He is in a better place,” he said. “He’s got to worry about no more pain. “

Although his investigators have worked three homicides this year already, Taylor said the case is unique compared to the other double homicide in Seale. He said the community is safe.

“It’s alarming we had one,” the sheriff said. “It’s alarming that anbody gets killed. I don’t know that I’m ready to say our community just went down the drain completley . I still say we have a safe community . We have great people in this community.”

The death is the third in Russell County since the Jan. 7 shooting of William Perry, 65, and his companion, Deborah Peay, 50, inside their Seale, Ala., home before it was set on fire to destroy evidence. Two men are facing capital murder charges in connection with the deaths.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor offers details in the arrest to two men in the Jan. 7 double murder and arson in Seale, Alabama. Taylor said the crime was likely a burglary gone wrong. The victims did not know their assailants.

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