Pre-trial motions kick off in Steve Toms murder trial

Pre-trial motions kick off in Steve Toms murder trial

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The time has almost come for six suspects to face dozens of felony charges, like kidnapping, assault, and the 2011 murder of Steve Toms, a well-known jewelry shop manager in Columbus.

Attorneys spent most of the day digging to find out if any of the suspects' Miranda Rights were violated. Miranda Rights are a list of rights a suspect has when being taken into custody, like the right to remain silent or have a lawyer.

Attorneys called Columbus police officers to the stand to describe their initial questioning of several of the men allegedly involved.

The men are currently facing a Columbus judge together. Only one of the six suspects, Michael Johnson, faces murder charges while the others face charges related to multiple robberies and assaults that happened throughout 2012.

WTVM spoke with one of the defendant's lawyers who tells us he will be requesting a severance, or separate trial, for his client.

"I don't want my client tainted by the allegations against all the other individuals, the other individuals, most of them have prior records, most of them are facing multiple charges, it's a 23-count indictment, and then just the severity of the fact that one of the charges against one of the co-defendants is murder," said attorney Richard Hagler.

Pre-trial motions will continue next week, and the trial is currently scheduled to begin on June 1 at 9 a.m.

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