Latest murder suspects appear in court, both plead not guilty

21-year-old Ricardo Strozier (Source: Columbus Police Department)
21-year-old Ricardo Strozier (Source: Columbus Police Department)
21-year-old Marquise Roberts (Source: Columbus Police Department)
21-year-old Marquise Roberts (Source: Columbus Police Department)

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Police know little about what went on inside a Columbus home between an alleged burglar and the resident, Heath Jackson, that led to Jackson's death.

The man investigators identify as the killer, 21-year-old Robert Strozier, is facing charges of murder, burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He pled not guilty to all of his charges during his preliminary hearing Friday in Recorder's Court.

At 1 PM on September 7th, officers were called to Jackson's home on Carter Avenue in reference to a burglary in progress.

When they got there, they say they found the 25-year-old radio disc jockey and musician lying in the driveway.

Jackson's roommate, Christopher Adams, tells detectives he had pulled in the driveway, heard gun shots, saw Jackson stumble out, and watched as a black man with shoulder-length dreadlocks ran out of the house. Scared for his life, Adams says he ran away and called 911.

Witnesses in Lakebottom Park tells police they saw a man fitting the same description running in that area with no shirt on.

One woman, who police are not identifying for her safety, say she was running in the park and saw the same man cutting through yards and later watched him jump out of some bushes and into the backseat of a silver Acura.

When she heard about the murder later in the day, she called police.

Detectives told Judge Michael Cielinski they also received a call from a citizen identifying the suspect as Ricardo Strozier- a man the caller told them is known to do burglaries in that area and also known to carry a weapon.

Police got an address for Strozier on 16th Street and found the silver Acura when they got there. They staked the car out and when it pulled away, they stopped it.

The male driver, an alleged friend of Strozier, admitted to picking him up in Lakebottom. In the passenger seat was Strozier's girlfriend, Angelica Bellamy.

She told detectives she woke up that morning and Strozier wasn't there. She says he texted her a short time later, saying he was in trouble and needed her to get his friend to pick him up at Lakebottom.

A murder warrant was issued for Strozier and he was arrested by the S.W.A.T. Team. At police headquarters, investigators say the only statement Strozier made to them was that he was home all day the day of the murder.

Back at the scene on Carter Avenue, officers say they found shrapnel and blood inside, leading them to conclude Heath Jackson was shot inside. They told the judge five shots were fired and Jackson was hit in the lower back and the back of his neck. Also inside, police say they found video game systems and lock boxes gathered in piles on chairs.

When it comes to fingerprints recovered, officers told the judge that part of their investigation is ongoing.

According to Robbery, Assault and Homicide officers, Strozier's girlfriend led them to the murder weapon, a Smith & Wesson 38 revolver tucked inside a sock and placed in a cinder block outside of their apartment.

Strozier's friend and alleged getaway driver told authorities he saw Strozier with a revolver when he picked him up in the park.

Motor Squad officers also presented the judge with two speeding cases. They say Strozier was issued two speeding tickets back in February and didn't show up in court- one was for 26 in a 20 in a school zone on Wynnton Road and the other was for 96 in a 65 on Interstate 185 South near Smith Road.

Jude Cielinski issued Strozier fines for speeding and ordered him held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on his murder charge. His case has been bound over to Muscogee County Superior Court.

Also in court Friday, Andrew Solomon.

He pled not guilty to murder and a weapons charge. Police say he shot and killed 17-year-old Levy Daniel in the Booker T. Washington Apartments downtown on the night of September 3rd.

During his preliminary hearing, detectives told Judge Michael Cielinski Solomon and Daniel had been arguing for years over a necklace. They say it was Daniel's necklace and Solomon wanted it but in the past, the arguing had only gone as far as spitting and slapping.

Last week, detectives say the fighting re-ignited when the two saw each other as Daniel and three friends were walking through the housing project after a football game at Memorial Stadium.

According to investigators, Solomon and Daniel started verbally fighting and Daniel, the victim, pulled a gun on Solomon first.

His friends tried to diffuse the situation, convincing the men to walk away.

Then, about thirty minutes later, officers say Solomon came running at Daniel with a gun near Building #508, firing three to six shots. The victim, they testified, was running away when he was hit and collapsed in Veterans Parkway.

Police say they found one shell casing but told the judge residents picked up the others and threw them away.

The friends that were with Daniel that night along with Daniel's family members identified Solomon as the shooter from his 2006 freshman yearbook picture, detectives told the judge.

They also testified that a gun was found on the victim at the hospital.

The judge ordered Solomon held in the Muscogee County Jail without bond on his murder charge and his case is headed to Superior Court.

Marquise Roberts, the alleged driver in the deadly Labor Day drive-by shooting of 18-year-old Gerald Hatchett in East Highland, was also supposed to appear in court.

Judge Cielinski says his hearing has been continued to next week because more charges are being filed against him.

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