Double homicide victim’s family friend seeks answers

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:04 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - In Columbus, just yesterday, two women were found shot to death in the front yard of a home on Clay Drive in South Columbus. It happened in broad daylight.

There are many questions surrounding why they were killed, especially for people living in that community.

Authorities identified the victims as 51-year-old Ronisha Anderson, previously reported as McCaskey, and 52-year-old Juantonja ‘Tonja’ Richmond. We’re told they were friends.

Today, we’re digging deeper to learn more about this crime that’s gripped the hearts of many throughout the Chattahoochee Valley.

News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams spoke with Dr. Xavier McCaskey Wednesday. He’s Ronisha Anderson’s ex-husband. He said he is heartbroken as the couple was married for nearly 30 years. News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams did attempt to interview him, but he said at this time, understandably, he is grieving.

A family friend, Dr. Betty Martin-Woods told us that she does not know Tonja Richmond well, but has known Anderson for decades. She said her family and friends called her “Nikki”

“You just had to know Nikki. I just don’t understand why,” Dr. Martin-Woods said. “I just need somebody to tell me why.”

Take a look at the women pictured in this news story: 51-year-old Ronisha, or Nikki, Anderson, and 52-year-old Juantonja, or as many called her, ‘Tonja’, Richmond. Their lives were taken as a result of gun violence Tuesday around noon on Clay Street in South Columbus.

“From my understanding they were coming back from the store,” Dr. Martin-Woods recalled. “Coming home... then this tragedy happened. It’s just so hurtful... the crime that’s going on now and older people who’s getting killed.”

Dr. Xavier McCaskey and Nikki were married for decades. Together they built an addiction and subsistence abuse clinic called Healing Minds Institute in Columbus. Tonja Richmond worked there as well.

The McCaskey’s recently divorced, but they remained business partners. The couple shares 18 children.

“She treated everybody... it doesn’t matter, they were her kids,” Dr. Martin-Woods said.

“Were they all biological?” Williams asked.

“No,” she responded.

Above all else, Dr. Martin-Woods just wants answers.

“Do you think this was anything gang related?” Williams asked.

“I can’t say it was or wasn’t. Just last week they were talking about this gang thing and having to go kill somebody,” she said. “It’s just so heartfelt that kids have to reach out to gangs to feel the need and want... and do stuff like this. Why somebody target these two women that don’t bother anybody?”

Williams is slated to speak one-on-one with Dr. McCaskey Thursday.

A crew spent the morning in the Clay Street neighborhood where the murders took place, and witnessed several Columbus police officers at the home and also an animal control truck.

Stay with News Leader 9 as this story continues to develop.