Attorney for young Columbus murder suspect discusses client

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 6:56 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - On Monday, News Leader 9 brought you the story on Hagan Fredette, who was charged with murdering his father’s girlfriend.

He was 14 years old when the crime was committed and his attorney spoke exclusively with News Leader 9 about why this case isn’t going to trial just yet.

Hagan Fredette is accused of shooting his father’s girlfriend, 37-year-old Emily McDaniel, multiple times. Police say he went on to stab the woman numerous times afterward.

This crime happened in September 2020.

He’s facing murder charges as an adult, but his attorney says there is much more to the story.

“We’re challenging what is called criminal responsibility - which means at the time, did he understand what he was doing?,” said Anthony Johnson, defense attorney for the murder suspect.

In the original recorder’s court hearing on this case, Columbus police testified that Hagan Fredette admitted to the murder.

His attorney, Anthony Johnson, says there may be issues concerning those statements.

“There’s been some incriminating evidence that has been given to us as far as him making an admission,” Johnson said. “There are some challenges and circumstances in regard to his statement we’re concerned about.”

Court testimony from that recorder’s court hearing also went on to say that McDaniel was involved with other men and that she was waiting at the home for a cocaine dealer at the time.

Johnson says his client has grown up in an environment of drugs and violence. His mother died from an overdose when he was six.

“He woke up right next to his mother and she had overdosed,” Johnson said. “When he was 14, his best friend shot and killed himself. He walked into the room right after his best friend had shot and killed himself. Actually, it was just before he turned 14. Just in those two situations, he has witnessed people he loved die very traumatic deaths. When you take in comparison that all he’s known is addiction and death in some form or fashion, it’s not that he shouldn’t be punished, but it should be appropriate for the individual.”

The process for that is ongoing. Johnson says Hagan is very sad and depressed and, at heart, is a good kid.

In his original interview, police say Joshua Fredette did not disclose that his son, Hagan, was around at the time of the murder.

McDaniel also left behind young children of her own.

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