Russell Co. capital murder, kidnapping suspects make first appearance in court

Russell Co. capital murder, kidnapping suspects make first appearance in court

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Four suspects made their first appearance in court today, just two days after allegedly kidnapping and killing a Columbus woman.

Judge David Johnson ordered all four suspects to be held without bond.

Each person was appointed an attorney. 30-year-old Demetria Johnson was appointed Joel Collins. 40-year-old Shaun Johnson was appointed Chuck Floyd. 33-year-old Jayvon Phillips was appointed David Jones and 30-year-old Joshua Tolbert was appointed Sirena Saunders.

Johnson and Tolbert shook their heads no when the charges were read.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said the motive for the crime appears to be jealousy. According to the sheriff, Demetria Johnson has kids with the victim’s boyfriend and they believe she recruited the other three suspects to help kidnap and kill Skinner to “get her out of the way.”

Skinner’s family members waited outside the judicial building Wednesday morning. Her uncle telling us said Skinner was a lovely person and hardworking mother.

“We’re a big family. We’re a loving family and that’s just a sign of the love that she shared and the love that was reciprocated back to her,” said Skinner’s uncle, Robert Jones.

“It’s a long road and I told the family that,” said Taylor. “We’re going to be connected at the hip for a long time between my office and them and the district attorney’s office. We are their voice.”

Demetria Johnson shook her head ‘no’ as the judge read off her kidnapping charge.

A gag order was put in place for everyone involved in the case, including families, state and defense.

Stay with News Leader 9 as this story develops.

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