Crime

Columbus police charge teen in death of ex-girlfriend he allegedly kidnapped before

Flashback: Victim in alleged kidnapping case ran away from home, attorney says

Stacey Jackson, attorney for accused kidnapper Markel Ervin, said his client did not lead his former girlfriend against her will last month. Jackson said evidence and testimony shows that the victim ran away from home.
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Stacey Jackson, attorney for accused kidnapper Markel Ervin, said his client did not lead his former girlfriend against her will last month. Jackson said evidence and testimony shows that the victim ran away from home.

Seventeen-year-old Markel Andrew Ervin has been charged with murder in Saturday’s fatal shooting of former girlfriend Destinee Virgin, police said Monday.

Arrested on a misdemeanor charge Sunday in Harris County, Ervin was released to local authorities Monday afternoon for transport to the Muscogee County Jail, after Columbus police got a murder warrant for his arrest, said police Maj. J.D. Hawk.

Ervin’s preliminary hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

He was free on bond from previous allegations involving Virgin when she was gunned down about 7 p.m. Saturday at Macon Road and Rigdon Road, where the suspect fled in Virgin’s 2004 Nissan Maxima, authorities said. Virgin was pronounced dead about 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown Campus hospital, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley.

Worley told the Ledger-Enquirer that Virgin had stepped out of her car just before shots were fired.

Early Sunday morning, Ervin was arrested in Harris County on a charge of obstructing law enforcement.

Before Saturday’s shooting, he had been free on $50,000 bond on charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment for an April 25 case in which he was alleged to have held Virgin against her will.

He was arrested on those charges May 15, when police confronted him in an unrelated incident in which officers alleged Ervin and another man randomly were firing a gun on Floyd Road. Court and jail records showed Ervin in that case was charged with reckless conduct and possessing a handgun while under the age of 18.

Columbus attorney Stacey Jackson represented Ervin during a May 24 Recorder’s Court hearing on Ervin’s allegedly kidnapping Virgin, charges Jackson said still are pending. Court records show Ervin was released on bond in that case May 30.

“I still represent him on the kidnapping charges,” Jackson said Monday morning. “If there are charges in the murder case, I would expect to represent him in that as well.”

According to testimony May 24 in Recorder’s Court, Virgin, then a 17-year-old Carver High School senior, was told to be home by 9:30 p.m. April 25 when she and Ervin went to a downtown restaurant. When Virgin did not come home, her mother tried to call her on her cell phone, but got no answer. About 5 a.m. the next day, the mother reported her daughter missing, and detectives joined the search.

When police found and questioned Virgin, she told them Ervin had held her against her will as he shuttled her from place to place, Detective Joseph Jackson testified. Virgin had a black eye and scratches on her face, police said.

She previously had run away from home to stay with Ervin and his mother, according to court testimony. Virgin’s mother told the court she had warned her daughter about Ervin: “This is not the first time he has hit my child,” she testified, telling Ervin: “You held her against her will and beat up on her.”

To the judge, Virgin’s mother said: “This is a toxic situation.”

Virgin graduated from Carver on May 22, said Principal Chris Lindsey. Ervin also attended Carver, but did not graduate, he said.

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