Accused murderer in Gold & Silver Trading Co. case appears in c - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Accused murderer in Gold & Silver Trading Co. case appears in court

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Michael J. Johnson (Photo source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Department) Michael J. Johnson (Photo source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Department)
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
The man arrested for the murder of Gold and Silver Trading Company manager Stephen Toms appeared in court today, July 26, for his preliminary hearing. Michael Jerome Johnson, 29, will not be granted bond, and his case has been bound over to Superior Court.

The Columbus Police Department arrested Johnson on Thursday July 25. He is charged with murder, armed robbery, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

On November 16, 2011, Stephen Toms was discovered deceased at the Gold and Silver Trading Company on Gentian Boulevard, an apparent victim of a gunshot wound.

After his death friends, family and area merchants set up a reward fund that topped over $20,000. Police had many leads in the case, but the murder went cold.

"I never lost faith in the Columbus Police Department," said Bob Upchurch with Gold and Silver Trading Center. "I hope we can go far with this and get it to a conclusion."

Johnson is already behind bars in Muscogee County on unrelated charges.

Investigators say they have cellphone records that prove he was in the area around the time of the murder.

He remains in jail without bond.

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