Crime

Columbus officer charged with murder in EMT homicide released from hospital, booked in jail

Who is Sgt. William Leonard Talley?

Sgt. William Leonard Talley, 51, has been with the Columbus Police Department since 2002. He was charged with murder in the death of Kelly Levinsohn, found shot to death in her home on May 11, 2019, in her home off of Pratt Avenue.
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Sgt. William Leonard Talley, 51, has been with the Columbus Police Department since 2002. He was charged with murder in the death of Kelly Levinsohn, found shot to death in her home on May 11, 2019, in her home off of Pratt Avenue.

The Columbus police officer accused of murder in the May 11 shooting death of local EMT Kelly Levinsohn has been released from hospital and transported to the Muscogee County Jail, according to authorities.

Accused of shooting 44-year-old Levinsohn inside her 5829 Pratt Avenue home Saturday evening, William Leonard Talley, 51, was taken to Piedmont Columbus Regional after he wrecked Levinsohn’s truck off Exit 30 of Interstate 185 in Harris County.

He was arrested by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies before he was admitted to the emergency room in critical condition. The extent of his injuries has not been released.

Talley was served the murder warrant Sunday morning and placed under guard, officers said.

According to a news release, Talley’s preliminary hearing in Recorder’s Court has been scheduled for 9 a.m. May 18, but will likely be rescheduled to 9 a.m. May 22.

He also faces two new additional charges of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime as well as violation of oath.

Shooting believed to be a domestic situation

Levinsohn was declared dead of a single gunshot wound at 9:05 p.m. Saturday, and police are calling the fatal shooting a domestic situation.

Columbus police began their investigation around 8 p.m. Saturday after receiving a 911 call that someone was injured or killed in a home on Pratt Avenue. The caller said the suspect worked for the police department.

The caller met police at the home and told them the suspect had been involved in an accident in Harris County, investigators said. After officers entered the residence, they found Levinsohn shot to death and discovered that her car was missing.

Chief Ricky Boren said police have recovered a gun that may have been used to shoot Levinsohn, and that the gun was not issued by the department.

Talley was served a warrant Sunday morning accusing him of murder as he recovered and was placed under guard.

Authorities said Talley, who has been with the department since July 2002, is on leave without pay, pending his court appearance. He has been working in the department’s patrol division, but also served on the SWAT team, police said.

Levinsohn a beloved daughter, friend

Levinsohn was an Advanced EMT with Care Ambulance. Those who knew her remember her as a sweet and loyal person.

“Her smile was the most contagious part about her and she always knew how to make everything better,” longtime friend Staci Warman said.

Kay Witt, who knew Levinsohn’s family and watched her grow up, said Levinsohn was her mother Wylma’s rock.

“She and her mom were best friends...her mom is left with a good memory,” Witt said. “They spent a week in Aruba and had an absolute ball, snorkeling, driving around, laying on the beach, eating, all the things that you would do in your fantasy vacation, they did.”

Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan also knew Levinsohn well.

“She was very dedicated to her job. It’s a hard job, both physically and mentally hard. She took it in stride, never showed any kind of negative mood towards one of the patients that she was transporting,” Bryan said. “She was always there to ease the patient’s pain and suffering, and she was just the kind of person you would want to see come to the scene to be with you.”

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