Wickham Dr. murder suspect pleads not guilty

Updated: Feb. 13, 2018 at 1:01 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  One of three murder suspects answered to charges in Columbus Recorder's Court, as police presented new information regarding another suspect currently being transported to the Muscogee County Jail.

Carl McClendon pleaded not guilty to charges of murder Tuesday morning. Cpl. Robert Nicholas with Columbus Police told the court that witnesses placed McClendon, Dewayne Jones, and a third, still unidentified man, at the scene of a home along Wickham Drive on Jan. 23.

Nicholas testified that three people were injured by gunshots. Lashay Ford was shot in the chest and later found dead at the scene, according to investigators.

According to witness statements read by Nicholas, Jones, McClendon and the third suspect came to the home. Witnesses also described the three men acting in a manner that may have indicated they had been drinking earlier in the day.

At one point, Nicholas said, a fight broke out between the suspects and the group already inside the house. Then, witnesses said they heard gunfire once Jones, McClendon and the third man had gone outside.

Testimony from witnesses indicated they saw Jones carrying a weapon the night of the shooting, but could not say they saw him pull the trigger.

Police said as of Tuesday, witnesses could only describe a silver car fleeing the scene after shots were fired. Investigators believe two guns were used that night, but have so far been unable to recover either weapon.

McClendon's attorney, Stacey Jackson, says one thing that stood out to him was that investigators had no indication of witnesses saying they saw McClendon holding a gun the night of the shooting.

"Out of the three individuals who the police say had something to do with this charge my client was the only one that turned himself in," Jackson said. "My client was the only one that turned himself in. He's been more than cooperative, in my opinion, and we'll be ready for our day in court."

Cpl. Nicholas then testified Jones was still in route from Texas to Georgia to have his court appearance. Jones turned himself into the police in El Paso, after fleeing to Mexico and, according to court testimony, calling Columbus police over the phone, who persuaded Jones to turn himself into authorities.

During a recorded phone interview with Columbus Police, Jones implicated McClendon as being with him the night of the shooting.

McClendon pleaded not guilty to all charges. His case was bound over to Superior Court without bond.

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