Final Pizza Hut murder suspect pleads not guilty in first court appearance

Final Pizza Hut murder suspect pleads not guilty in first court appearance

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The fifth and final suspect in an April 2018 murder in a Pizza Hut parking lot has made his first court appearance after being arrested in Oklahoma.

21-year-old Tyree Smith pleaded not guilty to murder after the shooting death of aspiring Columbus rapper Branden “Billion Dollar BD” Denson.

Court testimony revealed police were called to the scene on Buena Vista Rd. where they found Denson shot to death.

Police say surveillance video from a nearby convenience store revealed Denson was sitting in the parking lot inside of his Jeep when another car pulled up.

Three people got out of the car and approached Denson before shots rang out.

Defense attorney William Kendrick questioned if the footage was able to clearly identify that Smith was there.

“I asked specifically if he could be identified on that video footage by police and the answer to that question was no," said Kendrick. “I think the answer that none of their faces or none of the individuals faces could be identified on that footage.”

Police say Smith got a piece of luggage out of Denson’s car and got back in the suspects’ car but was not the one with the gun.

They say an eyewitness was able to identify all five suspects and confirmed Smith was there from GPS phone records.

“It seems what we were able to get out of this hearing was that he was not the shooter, that he did not have a gun," said Kendrick. "There seems to be some evidence to support that he was on the scene.”

Smith was arrested in Tulsa, Okla. after warrants for his arrest were issued in November 2018, seven months after the deadly shooting.

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