Suspect in sports bar shooting, murder pled not guilty in court Friday

Suspect in sports bar shooting, murder pled not guilty in court Friday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The suspect in a murder at a Columbus sports bar pled not guilty in recorder's court on Friday, and the victim's family had an emotional reaction to the proceedings.

Demark Ponder, 37, plead not guilty to murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm in commission of a crime.

Ponder, suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg from last week's shooting, was transported in and out of the courtroom in a wheelchair.

Ponder is accused of killing Dominic Mitchell.

Ponder's attorney says he is from LaGrange and drove to Columbus with his motorcycle club the night of the shooting.

Details as to what triggered the shooting will not be released until the police investigation is complete.

Investigators say they found a receipt for a handgun Ponder purchased just days prior to the incident that matched the serial number of the gun used in the crime. The defense argued that they unlawfully searched Ponder's belongings without a warrant.

According to CPD,  the shell casings found at the crime scene indicate several different weapons were fired that night but investigators say they're still collecting evidence to determine if the victim who died also had a gun.

"I anticipate as the investigation progresses the who, what, when, where, and why's will come out," says Shevon Thomas, Ponder's attorney.

A total of three people were shot outside the 4th Quarter Sports Bar and Grill on Oct. 9: Mitchell, Ponder, and another victim whose identity remains a mystery.

The defense questioned that person's role in the shooting, information Police say is still being investigated.

With so many questions left unanswered Thomas says it's critical Police finish their work.

"We have to allow the process to be completed because I think all parties involved, including the victim, want justice," said Thomas.

Ponder was denied bond and moved to superior court. No future court date has been set.

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