COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Raymond Richmond, known as "Little Raymond", was arrested on Dec. 16 in Phenix City for the murder of Terrell Screws.
A murder warrant was issued for Richmond a few weeks after Screw's death.
On Nov. 8, Screws was found dead in an apartment on Winston Rd. from multiple gunshot wounds.
"I couldn't believe that was my son lying on the cold ground. Someone left him out there to die like that," said Andrea Vandermaarel, Screw's mother.
She remembers the night when she saw her son's lifeless body rolled into a coroner van, covered by a sheet. A crowd gathered to watch detectives process the crime scene as Screws lay face down in the front yard surrounded by evidence markers.
Since then, friends and family of the victim have held multiple candlelight vigils to keep the memory of Terrell Screws alive and remind the public that his killer was still out there. Envisioning an investigation dragging out for years, the victim's sister said she never expected to find closure so quickly.
"I didn't think it would be this soon. I thought it was going to take longer," said Latasha Shaw.
When she got the news that the suspect, Raymond Richmond, was arrested Monday afternoon in Phenix City, she was hesitant to start celebrating.
"We didn't know to believe it because someone told us the same thing a couple weeks ago, that they caught him. But it wasn't true, so we didn't know how to take it," said Shaw.
But detectives verified that Richmond had indeed been taken into custody, the result of a highly organized raid involving a specialized team of law enforcement agents. Friends of Screws say he and Richmond used to be good friends, and as recently as the week before the murder, the two were seen hanging out together like always. No one who spoke to the press knows what could have changed to lead to this violent crime.
"Honestly, I don't know, I don't see why he would have a problem with my brother, but I really don't know," said Shaw.
"I can't have anymore kids and he was my only son and it just devastated our family," said Vandermaarel.
Screws' family said they are grateful to everyone who gave tips to investigators and came forward to help bring Richmond to justice.
Amid their relief that the accused killer is now in jail, Screws' family is dealing with an unexpected problem. The victim's stepfather, Ron Vandermaarel, said payment for the funeral is being delayed because, despite the obvious circumstances of his death, the insurance company is not moving as quickly as he'd like. News Leader Nine was unable to reach Globe Life for comment.