Three Years Later: New details in unsolved murder of Destiny Nelson in Columbus

Three Years Later: New details in unsolved murder of Destiny Nelson in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A family’s search for answers continues.

On January 16, 2017, an innocent life was taken far too young. Destiny Nelson was shot at her Bull Creek Apartment home. There are now new details about her death from her mother and police.

The hope is by bringing these new details forward now, people who have information about the crimes leading up to Destiny’s death may come forward with enough information for police to charge the person or persons who murdered her.

“The homicide unit has always considered Destiny’s case as a metaphor for the soul of Columbus, Georgia," said Lt. Greg Touchberry with the Columbus Police Department."There’s no middle ground here. You either get with what’s right and help us, or you stay out there with the trash and just get what you get.”

Destiny was 17 years old and an honors student at Early College Academy. She was loved by many.

“She was very lovable, everybody liked her, she loved to talk," said Destiny’s mother, Amber Daniel.

“We get a knock at the door, Destiny was in the hallway, and she says who is it?" Daniel recalled. "Then all of a sudden, it sounded like firecrackers were going off.”

Destiny’s mom said her daughter didn’t even get to open the door before gunfire took her down. An hour late,r she died.

“We’re convinced there are numerous people in the city of Columbus, primarily in the area of Cusseta Road and 32nd Avenue, that would know exactly who shot Destiny," Touchberry said. "And we’ve just been having a difficult time getting them involved in the process.”

Why 32nd Avenue? Reports show Keyonna James and another woman met there for a fistfight. Exclusive video shows the aftermath, which was an exchange of gunfire that ended in the death of Dominique Horton, Keyonna James’ cousin.

According to jail records, James is sitting in the Muscogee County Jail facing murder charges for the death of Marion Ralph at a church on Cusseta Road in April 2017. Her family is no stranger to criminal activity. Police confirmed James’ father, and Horton’s uncle is Kendrick Washington.

Washington was arrested at the Mellon Street Apartments earlier this year for the murder of Brandon Scott on July 7, 2017. Reginald Jackson is also charged in Scott’s murder.

“She had absolutely no involvement with what brought this trash to her door," Touchberry said.

“So if you’re afraid, still reach out [to police]," Daniel said. "They have methods to take care of you so nothing bad will happen, because it’s hard. Our family is hurting. This wasn’t meant for Destiny, but somehow we got caught up in the crossfire.”

Records show the woman who James fought on January 5, 2017, the same night Horton died, lived in the building next to Destiny. This led police to believe this was a retaliation shooting. Police said the perpetrators went to the wrong apartment.

“And as we see in this case, you technically didn’t get revenge for who you were looking for," Daniel said. "You got the wrong person. Now, our family is hurting and struggling.”

Destiny lived in apartment 11-B. The woman police believe to be the intended victim lived in 12-B.

“A lot of people want to come up with excuses, gang involvement, they’re scared,” Touchberry said. "We hear that over and over, what we try and tell everybody if you stay scared, nothing ever changes. "

“Three years have gone by and we still have no answers," Daniel said. "I mean, I don’t want another three years to go by and we’re still at this same place where nobody says anything.”

“Every case doesn’t always have DNA and video evidence," Touchberry said. "This is one of them where we need the community to care.”

There is a $15,000 reward available for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for shooting Destiny.

Anyone with information about Destiny’s murder or the information about the other crimes mentioned is asked to contact Cpl. Matt Sitler with the Homicide Unit at 706-225-4367.

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