Police explain how they caught the man accused of murder - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police explain how they caught the man accused of murdering a cab driver


A former soldier charged with homicide had a bond hearing in front of a judge in Columbus Thursday morning.

He is accused of an execution-style murder of a local cab driver last Sunday.  This was the first opportunity for the public to hear how police tracked down the suspect and hear some of the evidence.

Sandy Mitchell is accused of murdering a Yellow Cab driver to steal less than $100 and today it was decided that he will stay in jail until the trial.

Police said Mitchell called a cab to take him from a motel to his house, and once there, police said Mitchell shot the driver, Byron Brown, in the head. 

Yasmeen Bilal is Brown's widow.  She was present at the hearing and held together despite everything.  Bilal said she found her husband's lost ring that morning and wore it to court in memory of him.

As the hearing progressed, police outlined how they tracked Mitchell down.  They began by reviewing the locations where Brown's cab was dispatched that night and they discovered the last call was to Motel 6 in Columbus.  After talking with the clerk and checking surveillance, detectives were able to identify Mitchell as the person who ordered the cab.  The clerk said he remembered the distinct scar across Mitchell's forehead. 

When police determined Mitchell's home address, they searched the area and found a gun under an air conditioner in his backyard.  Testing revealed it was the gun used in the murder.

Investigators also located a witness who was sitting parked in her car at the intersection where the shooting occurred.  She witnessed the entire incident and her description of the shooter matched that of Sandy Mitchell.

Detectives finally caught up to Mitchell, who was hiding on Fort Benning.  They interviewed him about the night in question and he admitted to taking the cab ride home, but he denied shooting the driver.  According to Mitchell, sometime later in the evening, he discovered the driver was dead behind the wheel outside his house.  He stated to police that he didn't investigate further and he did not call 911 because he's "not like that."

When asked what punishment Mitchell should receive, Bilal said, "Give me that needle and I'll shoot him myself."  She went on to say that it is not in her nature to be angry and she knows she shouldn't feel that way, but it would give her satisfaction to see Mitchell put to death.

Family will be holding a funeral in Phenix City on Saturday and they are expecting it to be highly attended because Brown had a lot of friends.  Bilal said in some ways her husband's death brought the family closer together.

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