Crime

Police: Uninvited guest randomly attacked victim in Labor Day killing

“Where’s your attorney?” Hearing postponed for suspect in Labor Day barbecue killing

The preliminary hearing for the man suspected of killing a Northside High School janitor at a Labor Day barbecue was postponed. Merrick Emory Redding, 51, was scheduled to appear in Columbus Recorder’s Court Tuesday at 9 a.m. The judge postponed t
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The preliminary hearing for the man suspected of killing a Northside High School janitor at a Labor Day barbecue was postponed. Merrick Emory Redding, 51, was scheduled to appear in Columbus Recorder’s Court Tuesday at 9 a.m. The judge postponed t

Merrick Redding was having a calm conversation with Joseph Davis before he fatally punched him in the head at a Labor Day barbecue on Bond Avenue, according to testimony this morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.

Columbus Police Officer Donna Baker said there is no relation between Redding and the 47-year-old Northside High School janitor he’s accused of killing. The 51-year-old defendant wasn’t even invited to the barbecue, she added.

Authorities said they found Davis lying on the ground bleeding and unconscious when they arrived at the scene at 2342 Bond Ave. around 3:33 p.m. that day.

Davis was transported to Midtown Medical Center in Columbus and later airlifted to the Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where he was treated for intracranial bleeding. He died the following morning.

Witnesses said Redding went across the street to the Labor Day barbecue and approached Davis, who was leaning against a pickup truck. The two were engaging in a calm conversation when Davis raised his arm as if he was “preventing Redding from striking him,” Baker testified.

“Once Mr. Davis lowered his arm, Mr. Redding acted as if he was about to walk away,” Baker told the court. “Then he turned around and struck Mr. Davis on the side of his face. At which point in time, Mr. Davis fell to the ground.”

An autopsy conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab revealed that Davis died of blunt-force trauma to the head. A murder and battery warrants were then issued Redding, who surrendered to authorities Monday night.

Redding, who was represented by Kennon Peebles Jr., didn’t speak to police or testify in court. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

Judge Michael Cielinski dismissed the battery charge after the senior assistant district attorney agreed with him about it merging with the murder charge.

Sarah Robinson: 706-571-8622, @sarahR_92

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