Columbus man pleads not guilty in shooting of pregnant woman

Sarah Robinson

Blake Houze
Blake Houze

The Columbus man accused of shooting a pregnant woman July 5 at Brighton Park Apartments appeared in Recorder's Court today.

Blake Houze, the alleged shooter, pleaded not guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, false imprisonment, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft by taking motor vehicle and burglary.

He was ordered held in Muscogee County Jail without bond on the armed robbery charge. He was issued bonds totaling $290,000 on the remaining charges, and the case was bound over to Superior Court.

Columbus Police Detective Joseph Hart said authorities were notified about the July 5 shooting around 4:14 a.m. that morning. They rushed to the 6254 Warm Springs Road apartment and found the 34-year-old pregnant woman suffering from gunshot wounds to the right eye, upper lip and left shoulder, he testified.

The woman was transported to Columbus Midtown Medical Center and released after weeks of treatment. She lost an eye, but she and her child are expected to recover, police said.

The woman told police that she was asleep in her bedroom when Houze walked in the room accusing her of infidelity. The defendant, who was armed with a knife and gun, confronted her about text messages he didn't approve of, officials said.

"He held her at gunpoint while parading her and accusing her of infidelity," Hart said. "During this exchange, he did fire one time into her face, which we believe is the shot that injured her right eye."

According to police, Houze emptied the victim's purse as she lay on the ground "playing dead" and left room with her keys and wallet. He returned moments later and shot the woman two more times, police said.

He fled the apartment in the victim's black 2009 Nissan Maxima, which is valued at $14,000, according to police.

Police issued warrants for Houze arrest on aggravated assault, aggravated battery, false imprisonment, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission and theft by taking motor vehicle charges.

Columbus Police Detective Jack Wills said Houze burglarized the woman's residence the day following shooting and took his backpack and passport from the home. The woman was still in the hospital at the time, Wills added.

Wills said Houze called the manager of Brighton Park Apartments pretending to be someone else and asked if the victim's residence was occupied.

Based on the new information, police issued an additional warrant for burlglary.

The U.S. Marshal Service arrested Houze Wednesday in Atlanta, police said. Hart declined to comment on how they knew of Houze's whereabouts due to the ongoing investigation into the July 5 incident.

— Sarah is a crime and safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.