Victim's family: Murder suspect shouldn't be in jail - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Victim's family: Murder suspect shouldn't be in jail

by Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter


COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The family of 17-year-old Eric Maxwell thinks his death was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Police were called to shooting on 2nd Avenue in Columbus Tuesday night and found the teen's body in a car on the side of the road.

"We're very shocked. Never in a million years would we have thought this would have happened to Eric. Never. Never," said his aunt, Vanessa Maxwell.

"He was only 17-years-old and he had a chance to do something with his life but now he's just gone," his grandmother, Carolyn Dunan said.  

Around midnight, investigators say 20-year-old Derrick Johnson turned himself in and was charged with murder. Maxwell's family says the two were friends.

According to police, Johnson was in the backseat of the car with the victim, armed. At some point, his gun went off hitting Maxwell in the back.

The victim's family thinks the whole thing was an accident.

"I don't think he did it on purpose. I really don't. It happened and my nephew is gone but we can't bring him back and there's no need for that young man to go to jail and suffer with his friend being gone so I don't even think he deserves any jail time," his aunt added.

"Right now, two people, two families lives have been disrupted with a lot of hurt and pain and I just want to say to all of you young folks out there- get your life right, get your mind right because this is senseless. In the end, you see what happened," Maxwell's grandfather, Joseph Person said.

"We're going to miss him a whole, whole, whole lot," Dunan said of her grandson.

The suspect, Derrick Johnson, will have a hearing in Columbus Recorder's Court Thursday morning.

He is being held in the Muscogee County Jail.

Eric Maxwell's family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.


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