Police: Murder suspect fought with victim 2 days before shooting

Murder suspect Sacorey McKelvey fought with shooting victim Corey Owens two days before he was critically wounded April 24 as he left Rivers Homes in a white GMC Suburban, police said Saturday during a court hearing.

McKelvey, 22, pleaded innocent to a murder charge during a 2 p.m. hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court. Judge Julius Hunter ordered McKelvey, who was arrested Thursday, held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.

Police detective Jason Brown said Owens was leaving the apartment complex at 1:50 p.m. when a man with dreadlocks standing at the corner of Wynnton Road and Adair Avenue opened fire on the vehicle. Owens, 29, was struck in the back of the head and was pronounced dead the next day at Midtown Medical Center.

After the shooting, a witness told police the gunman jumped into a black car and fled. A witness followed the vehicle and copied a tag number that came back to a relative of McKelvey.

Brown said officers went to the house but didn’t find the suspect. In interviews with police, witnesses pointed to McKelvey as the only person who had made threats against Owens.

Two days before the shooting, Brown said Owens and his brothers confronted McKelvey who was armed with a 9 mm pistol while they were at an apartment building on Adair Avene, a block away from the shooting. The group of men beat McKelvey and took his gun.

Witnesses said the battered man returned later and made threats against the victim. In statements to police, McKelvey admitted to police the fight occurred but denied shooting Owens. He also said he was at a relative’s house when police dropped by but he fled from the scene.

The suspect was represented by public defender Charles Lykins who asked Brown if anyone identified McKelvey as the person who shot Owens. The detective said no one identified the suspect, but police recovered shell casings and projectiles at the scene. He also said no weapon has been recovered in the shooting.

McKelvey stood silent during the hearing and didn’t testify.

On the day of his arrest, police also charged the suspect’s mother, Michelle McKelvey, with hindering the apprehension of a suspect.

Using information from a confidential informant and U.S. Marshals, detective Katina Williams said police told the mother that she would face charges if she hindered her son’s arrest. She was in the Oates Avenue area when police took the suspect in custody.

In a statement to police, the son said his mother knew where he was staying. The son said he wanted to have dinner with his girlfriend before he surrendered to police on his own and his mother knew that.

The mother denied knowing anything about her son since the day of the shooting. Her charge was bound over to Superior Court.