Merritt pleads ‘Not Guilty’ to Ft. Benning Rd. fatal shooting, family speaks out

Family speaks out after Merritt pleads ‘Not Guilty’ to Ft. Benning Rd. fatal shooting
Jerry Wayne Merritt, 47. (Photo source: Columbus Police Department)
Jerry Wayne Merritt, 47. (Photo source: Columbus Police Department)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Jerry Wayne Merritt has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing a man on Fort Benning Road on Friday, June 6 at about 9:15 a.m. News Leader 9's Tyrone McCoy has what we learned in Recorder's Court on Monday.

An investigator with the Columbus Police Department outlined the details of the case, saying this incident actually started the morning before the shooting. the investigator stated the two fought at the Pure Gas station around 2 a.m. Sunday where police say Anthony Taylor hit Merritt in the face with a large metal pipe.

Video footage from the store confirms this, police say. According to the hearing, Merritt then went home to get a gun and wait for Taylor to return to the store to shoot him. It's an account both families share strong feelings about.

"What happened to my uncle, he was being bullied around and he got fed up," explains Miniah Merritt, the suspect's niece. "So, that's what happened. That's how I feel and anything else that's going to happen to it is in God's hands."

"I feel like a man that is a convicted felon -- he has been charged just a few months ago with stabbing somebody else. How do you let that person out to continue? Now, he's murdered my husband," said Balencia Taylor, the victim's wife.

The suspect in this shooting, Jerry Merritt, received no bond for the murder charge, a $25,000 bond for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a bond of $2500 for possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The victim, 44-year-old Anthony Taylor, was found laying on the ground at the Pure Gas Station on Fort Benning Road. He was transported to Midtown Medical Center, and found to be shot in the left side of the back. During transport, officials say he went into cardiac arrest and died a short time later.

Merritt turned himself in at the scene of the crime on Friday.

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