Crime

‘Worm,’ suspect in Columbus double homicide, also involved deadly 2014 gun fight

The name Terrance Jamal “Worm” Streeter should have sounded familiar to Columbus police.

The 23-year-old suspect charged in an Aug. 25 double-homicide that left a third victim severely wounded on Mellon Street has a history of run-ins with the law, including an Aug. 21, 2014, gunfight with three teenagers that killed a 16-year-old.

Streeter still was on probation from that case when officers arrested him Aug. 28 at Cusseta Road and Bragg Smith Street, where Streeter was the front-seat passenger in a Mazda that police pulled over for a traffic stop.

Streeter aroused suspicion because he appeared to be concealing a backpack under his legs, and he gave officers a false name and date of birth, Sgt. Dexter Wysinger testified Wednesday in Recorder’s Court, where Streeter faced two counts of murder and one of aggravated assault.

He was charged in the fatal shootings of Lyatray Buchanan, 24, and Lamonte Muff, 28, gunned down in an apartment during an alleged drug deal, and the wounding of Joshua Brown, found with multiple gunshot wounds in the same area.

A tipster told investigators a gunman named “Worm” was seen exiting the apartment while shooting back inside.

While patrol officers were checking his identity during the traffic stop three days later, Streeter abruptly got out of the Mazda and ran, tossing aside a cell phone as police chased him down, Wysinger said.

When officers caught up with him, he broke free, initiating another foot chase that ended with police Tasing him twice, the detective said.

Police never found the phone he tossed, but they discovered Streeter had $498 in cash on him, and while searching the Mazda, they found almost 324 grams of marijuana, more than 11 ounces, most of it in Streeter’s backpack, Wysinger said.

Under the front passenger’s seat, investigators found a 9-millimeter Taurus semi-automatic pistol containing 10 rounds, the detective said. Police sent the gun to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for examination, and on Oct. 17, firearms expert Catherine Jordan reported ballistics tests matched the gun to bullets recovered from Muff’s body, Wysinger said.

Detectives served Streeter with murder warrants while he still was jailed on charges from the traffic stop. According to court records, those charges included being a convicted felon with a firearm, felony possession of marijuana, possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, and misdemeanor charges of obstructing police, giving a false name, and two counts of possessing drug-related objects.

On Oct. 10, Superior Court Judge Ron Mullins set bonds totaling $14,300 on those charges, before police two weeks later added the murder and aggravated assault counts from the Aug. 25 homicides.

Streeter on Wednesday was represented by Columbus attorney Stacey Jackson, who asked Wysinger which individuals at the Mellon Street Apartments had guns that day.

“All,” Wysinger said.

“Everyone had a firearm?” Jackson asked.

“Yes sir,” Wysinger said.

Detectives have said they found shell casings from multiple calibers at the crime scene, where victims Buchanan and Muff also were armed. The alleged drug deal reportedly involved a large amount of marijuana and cash, and multiple shooters, Wysinger said.

Brown, the wounded man who survived, was unable to identify all the gunmen, some of whom were firing from a back room into the apartment’s kitchen. Brown couldn’t see who was shooting from that direction, Wysinger said.

Streeter is the second suspect charged in the homicides. Earl Johnson, 37, was arrested on the same charges Oct. 16, authorities said.

2014 gunfight

Streeter was on probation after pleading guilty Feb. 18, 2018, to robbery by snatching, for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years to serve and the rest on probation. He was released with credit for the time he’d already spent in jail.

His robbery charge stemmed from a 2014 shootout with three youths ages 14, 15 and 16, who had come looking for Streeter after he snatched a .40-caliber from them as they tried to sell it, police said.

Humiliated, the three boys returned well armed an hour later, in a stolen car, looking for Streeter.

Police identified the boys as Christopher Jones, 16; Jamal Jaquell “Lil’ Boosy” Scott, 15; and Jaquan Jermaine “Droopy” Harris, 14.

Jones, the driver, had a .380-caliber pistol. Scott was in the front passenger’s seat with a .25-caliber handgun, and Harris was in the back seat with a semi-automatic rifle that had an extended clip of 38 rounds, investigators said.

They called Streeter out to the street, using his nickname “Worm,” and started shooting. Streeter drew the Glock and shot back, as Jones tried to speed away.

When a bullet fired through the rear of the stolen Hyundai Sonata hit Jones in the head, the vehicle ran off into a ditch, crashing into a tree, a fence and a fire hydrant.

Harris and Scott got out and ran. Police found Jones dead in the driver’s seat.

Police initially charged Streeter with three counts of aggravated assault, and one each of armed robbery and of using a gun to commit a crime. But prosecutors decided Streeter fired in self-defense, and they chose instead to reduce the armed robbery charge to robbery by snatching, and drop the others.

The two surviving teens faced more serious charges: Because of their roles in Jones’ death, they initially were charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. Each faced up to 50 years in prison, if convicted.

In a negotiated plea on Feb. 26, 2018, each pleaded guilty only to aggravated assault, and their other charges were dropped. Judge Mullins sentenced each to 10 years probation.

At the time, Scott was 19, and Harris was 18.

Harris would not live to see the year end: He fatally was shot about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 27 at 1919 Dunwoody Drive in Columbus. Police in January charged 17-year-old Jaquavis Donell Richardson with murder in Harris’ death.

Tim Chitwood is from Seale, Ala., and started as a police beat reporter with the Ledger-Enquirer in 1982. He since has covered Columbus’ serial killings and other homicides, following some from the scene of the crime to trial verdicts and ensuing appeals. He also has been a Ledger-Enquirer humor columnist since 1987. He’s a graduate of Auburn University, and started out working for the weekly Phenix Citizen in Phenix City, Ala.
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