Suspect in fatal shooting appears in court
One of the five murder suspects in the 5 Corner Lotto shooting stalked and threatened the lead investigator in the case, according to testimony Monday morning in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Courtney Williams, 26, pleaded not guilty to influencing a witness and terrorist threats charges related to the comments he allegedly made about Columbus Police Sgt. Anthony Locey after authorities arrested him on March 15.
Sgt. Lance Deaton said he and Sgt. Wendy Holland were interviewing Williams about the Nov. 6 shooting when the suspect admitted to stalking Locey.
“He became very descriptive in talking about his family, describing his family, describing his residence and going as far as describing the animals that he has,” Deaton testified. “He even described the path in which he and his family would walk in the afternoons after work and his clothing.”
Deaton said he threatened Locey knowing that his comments would be repeated to the investigator.
“He goes on to say during this particular interview that he would ride by. He would see them. He would stop and watch them and he could, ‘Get them anytime I wanted to,’” Deaton testified.
Police said Williams had the resources to carry out that threat, including access to handguns.
“While he’s locked up, he has proven to have connections outside...,” Deaton told the judge. “He had the means and still continues to have the means to carry out this threat.”
Officials said it’s possible he made the alleged threat hoping that Locey would reconsider presenting any evidence against him and Kimberly Huffman. The 30-year-old woman was identified as his girlfriend in a May hearing where she pleaded not guilty to an armed robbery they were both charged in.
In court, Williams denied making the threat.
“In that interview, I never stated I could get him anytime I wanted to,” Williams testified.
During Monday’s hearing, Williams and Huffman also pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting that killed 23-year-old Vastal Patel and wounded his 56-year-old father. The two were found outside of the 5 Corner Lotto business around 9:53 p.m. that night.
Patel, who was employed at the store, was pronounced dead at Midtown Medical Center and his father, who owns it, was treated and released.
Authorities said Williams and Huffman committed the crime along with Dominique Collins, 18, Jalontaye Cleveland, 18, and Joshua Tucker, 17. All three teens pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated charges in the case.
All five murder suspects remain in the Muscogee County Jail after being denied bond on multiple charges. Their cases were bound over to Superior Court.