Police: Homeless man Columbus' first homicide of 2008

A homeless man staying at the Valley Rescue Mission became Columbus' first homicide victim of 2008 Monday night when he was stabbed to death on the 14th Street bridge, police said.

Russell Dent Jr. 41, formerly of Smiths Station, was pronounced dead of a stab wound to the chest at 8:25 p.m. at The Medical Center, said Deputy Coroner Victoria Thompson.

Columbus police have charged Willie James Holmes, 54, of 1225 Ninth Ave., Phenix City, with murder and possession of a knife during commission of a crime, said Lt. Lynn Joiner. Holmes, who was being held in the Russell County Jail, was to be transferred to the Muscogee County Jail Tuesday.

"There was some kind of disagreement between the victim and suspect," said Joiner. "There was a fight. During the fight, the victim was stabbed in the chest by Holmes. Holmes left the scene and was later arrested by Phenix City police.

See Wednesday's Ledger-Enquirer for more on this story.