Murder suspect pleads not guilty to Labor Day murder - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Murder suspect pleads not guilty to Labor Day murder

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) - A Columbus murder suspect has an alibi, according to his attorney and a witness that has come forward.

Marquise Roberts pled not guilty to murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime during a preliminary probable cause hearing in Recorders Court Tuesday morning.

Police have pinned Roberts as the driver in the deadly Labor Day drive-by shooting that claimed the life of 18-year-old Gerald Hatchett in the East Highland section of the city.

Columbus investigators are also searching for another suspect in the case, Tray Thomas who also faces murder charges.

But according to police, Hatchett was an innocent bystander, caught in the cross fires of a drive-by shooting.

Seventeen-year-old Jessie Favors says he was the intended target. In court Tuesday, he told the judge he was driving a car that had been traded for crack cocaine the night of the shooting when he spotted a black SUV. He says the SUV followed him to 25th Street where the victim was sitting outside with some friends.

That's when police say Roberts was heard saying "Get him bro" from behind the wheel and a passenger leaned out and started firing a gun, hitting Hatchett in the head and killing him.


But in court, a Columbus woman said Roberts and Thomas could not have committed the crime because she saw them at a Labor Day barbeque in the Rose Hill section of the city from 9 PM- 1 AM.

"We have a witness who thoroughly establishes an alibi for not only Mister Roberts but also Mister Thomas from 9:15 PM to 1 o'clock AM which would make it impossible for Mister Roberts to have committed this crime," said Stacey Jackson, Roberts' attorney.

When prosecutors asked the witness how she knew Marquise Roberts and Tray Thomas, she said they hung out with her nephew.

But when asked what her nephew's name was, she said she could not remember.

Judge Michael Cielinski ordered Marquise Roberts held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail on his murder charge.

Meanwhile, police are still searching for Tray Thomas.

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