Despite self-defense claim, Columbus man pleads guilty in homicide over pregnant woman

From the outset, Adrian Karl Pollard was adamant he shot Maurice McGhee in self-defense when McGhee came at him with a gun after they argued over a woman at Columbus’ Wilson Homes housing complex.

The woman, who was four months pregnant when the shooting occurred at 5:39 p.m. March 24, had been in a relationship with Pollard before she began seeing McGhee, authorities said.

Witnesses said the two men started arguing when they encountered each other outside Building 317 of the 3400 8th Ave. complex. Some said they saw McGhee with a gun, though police did not find a weapon on him afterward.

Pollard said that after his initial confrontation with McGhee, he had walked away to talk to someone else, but then McGhee came toward him with a gun and fired, and he was compelled to shoot back in self-defense.

Police said they found seven 9-millimeter bullet casings at the scene. Shot through the torso, McGhee was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. at Columbus’ Midtown Medical Center, now called Piedmont Columbus Regional.

Police got warrants charging Pollard with murder, using a firearm to commit a crime and being a convicted felon with a firearm. Accompanied by an attorney, Pollard turned himself in at the Columbus Public Safety Center on March 31, 2017.

During his preliminary hearing in Recorder’s Court the following April 6, Pollard maintained he acted in self-defense, and defense attorney Mark Shelnutt had a witness testify that McGhee was the one who shot first. Still the case was sent to Muscogee Superior Court.

Before Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters, Pollard pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter and being a felon with a gun. His attorneys felt he still had a strong self-defense claim, but decided he should accept an offer to plea to the reduced charge.

Peters sentenced him to 15 years, with seven to serve in prison and the rest on probation. He will get credit for the two years he has spent in jail.

Shelnutt said that guarantees Pollard will be released from prison while he’s still young. Pollard was 28 when he shot McGhee. He’s now 30 years old.