NEW DETAILS: Fort Benning Road double murder suspect appears in Recorder’s Court
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New details on a double homicide on Fort Benning Road. One of the victims was an active duty soldier. Today, the suspect, Elijah Smith, appeared before a judge for the first time in Recorder’s Court.
Police say Smith admitted to being at the scene when the crime unfolded. However, he says he was NOT the shooter. But, police say his claims are NOT true according to surveillance footage and other video evidence.
On April 10, 2022, police say nearly 300 people gathered for a block party on Fort Benning Road. The party started that day but things turned deadly. Around 6:30 p.m., Columbus police responded to reports of shots fired.
“Was there any identification given as to my client being involved from those 911 calls?” Asked Defense Attorney William Kendrick.
The lead homicide detective, Thomas Hill, says he has not been made aware of anyone naming a suspect to dispatch.
But it didn’t take long for tips to start rolling in. Within 24 hours, warrants were issued for the arrest of Elijah Smith. Smith is facing murder charges in connection to the fatal shooting of two 19-year-olds identified as Marque Humber and Nekevius Petty. Humber was an active duty soldier.
“All of the individuals that we’ve spoken to have all collectively identified the shooter as Elijah Smith, Elijah or “MBA Elijah,” which is a social media account on Facebook associated with the defendant,” said Hill.
Smith could also be convicted of possession of a firearm. Police used surveillance footage and a video circulating on social media to pinpoint Smith at the scene.
“You can actually see the two victims and a third party that was with the victims at the time,” said Hill. “And then you see an arm extend out to the right - to the east - fire a weapon which appears to be an automatic firearm.”
While all three individuals fell to the ground, only two passed away.
“We have 10, 9-millimeter shell casings recovered at the scene,” said Hill. “Those have since been sent off for ballistics testing with the GBI and I don’t have results of that yet.”
During his arrest on April 20 in Phenix City at his mother’s house, police recovered a 9-millimeter firearm. Police also found another 9 millimeter firearm on one of the victims, who also had an AR-15 style pistol in their car. All guns have been sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations for ballistics comparison with the shell casings found on scene. Once extradited back to Columbus, Smith agreed to an interview with the lead detective.
“He said, although he was there he denies being the actual trigger person that committed the shooting,” said Hill.
Smith claims he does know who the real shooter is but refuses to identify them.
Judge Julis Hunter says the bond for the double murder and possession of a firearm charges will now be set by the Superior Court. Once set, Smith will not be allowed to contact the victim’s families. It could be two years before this case actually goes to trial because Muscogee County is trying murder cases from 2018 to 2019 right now.
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