Murder suspects plead 'not guilty' to motorcycle gang shootout

Murder suspects plead 'not guilty' to motorcycle gang shootout

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Two of three suspects charged with murder pled not guilty in a Columbus courtroom Friday.

Daginald Wheeler and James Daniels went before a judge for their preliminary hearing in the death of 33-year-old Dominic Mitchell. Demark Ponder who is the third suspect also pleaded not guilty last month.

With 63 rounds fired by members of two motorcycle clubs, police are now calling the Oct. 9 incident that left two injured and one dead a "motorcycle gang shootout".

Police testified in court that the shell casings belonged to three different weapons, but defense attorney's said none of them belonged to their clients.

"The weapons found at Wheeler's home were not removed because it was determined that they did not match the caliber of weapons used at the 4th quarter," said Stacey Jackson, Attorney for Wheeler, who police say is the president of Outcasts.

"There were over 63 rounds discharged on that particular evening and we're fairly confident that his weapon was not used," says Dorothy Williams in reference to her client Mr. Daniels.

Williams told the judge her client's weapon was purchased legally and was registered. The only reason he was caught up in the investigation is because he went with to the hospital with the other suspect.

"He assisted in guiding an acquaintance, Mr. Ponder to Saint Francis that night."

Ponder, an alleged member of the Outcasts, was suffering from a gunshot wound from the shootout. He was arrested after being discharged from the hospital and is also facing armed robbery and murder charges.

Police say Wheeler is the president of the Outcast Motorcycle Club and owns a business in Columbus called Headquarter's Automotive. His attorney argued all of police witnesses belonged to the opposing club.

Dominic Mitchell was not a member of the Outcasts Motorcycle Club, according to his wife. Mitchell was at the scene of 4th Quarter Sports Bar meeting with the president of Strikers to discuss cooking for their tailgate the next morning. 

"The witnesses involved in the case you have to look at their credibility because they had weapons, many of them had criminal histories, and they belonged to the striker's club house."

This case will be bound over to superior court. Attorney Jackson says a date for the next hearing should be set sometime next week.

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