88-year-old murder suspect pleads not guilty to shooting stepdaughter
An 88-year-old man was accused of shooting and killing his stepdaughter Tuesday afternoon at his Trussell Avenue home after she missed his phone call, according to testimony Thursday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
James Byrd pleaded not guilty to murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was ordered held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.
Judge Julius Hunter bound over the case to Superior Court.
Columbus police were called to the 5100 block of Trussell Avenue around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a shooting. They found 67-year-old Nancy Green, Byrd’s stepdaughter and caretaker, lying on her kitchen floor suffering from a gunshot wound.
She was pronounced dead on the scene about 30 minutes later, Muscogee County Deputy Coroner Charles Newton said.
Sgt. Michael Dahnke said further investigation indicated Green missed a phone call from Byrd. Instead of returning his call, she went to his home.
“Once inside the residence, the defendant shoots and kills the victim,” Dahnke told the court. “The defendant then calls a family member from Montgomery, Ala., and tells her he had just shot Nancy and told the family member, ‘Come get you some.’ ”
Police said the family member called the victim’s roommate and told her what happened. The roommate retrieved her firearm and went to Byrd’s residence, where she said she found Green lying on the floor and Byrd sitting at the kitchen table.
She held him at gunpoint until authorities arrived, Dahnke testified.
The roommate told police Byrd accused Green of trying to steal money from him.
Detectives took Byrd into custody and asked him a series of basic questions, such as his name, address and the date. He answered those questions correctly.
Police said he went on to make several spontaneous utterances, in which he mentioned having nearly $200,000. He allegedly accused the victim and the family member in Montgomery of trying to steal his money.
“ ‘I killed her,’ ” Dahnke said, quoting the defendant. “ ‘She tried to take my money.’ ”
Officials said they searched Byrd’s home, where they found multiple bottles of medication. The suspect is a diabetic, Dahnke told the court.