COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus Police are revealing new evidence that could possibly link two suspects to an armed robbery and murder at a local convenience store. News 3 went to the preliminary hearing for Courtney Williams and Kimberly Huffman Monday morning.
Police laid out some evidence during the hearing, trying to link Williams, 26, and Huffman, 30 to the 5 Corner Lotto murder and armed robbery. As News 3 reported, the store’s owner was shot and severely injured during the robbery. The store owner’s son died in the shooting. Both Williams and Huffman pleaded not guilty to various charges in court Monday.
Police say the other three suspects in the case brought up Williams name when questioned. 18-year-old Jalontaye Cleveland, 18-year-old Dominique Collins, and 17-year-old Joshua Tucker also face murder charges in connection to the 5 Corner Lotto armed robbery and murder.
Police also found shell casings matching a gun Hufffman purchased from a local pawn shop. However, attorney Stacey Jackson, who’s representing Huffman, says police never recovered the weapon in question.
“Without the firearm being recovered, one can never be able to say that the firearm that Ms. Huffman supposedly purchased was actually used in the homicide, because it would be impossible to get a ballistic match unless you find the firearm,” Jackson told News 3.
Police say Huffman admitted to meeting with Williams while both were out on bond for several other crimes. Jackson also faces charges in four other incidents, including a January 2016 shooting on Plateau Dr. and a May 2016 armed robbery at a grocery store on Buena Vista Rd. Williams represented himself during the preliminary hearing. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Police also tracked Williams’ phone through a call made from the 5 Corner Lotto store. Later, investigators found the same phone in Huffman’s car. Police also found Huffman and Williams together rapping in a video.
Jackson, however, questioned the source of the cell phone information. He also questioned why police did not use a search warrant when they accessed the suspects’ Facebook Messenger accounts. Police also tracked Huffman’s EBT card, which she used at the store the day before the robbery. Someone else reportedly used her card information the day of the robbery. Huffman told police her card was stolen. But the state of Georgia has no record of Huffman losing her EBT card.
A judge granted several thousand dollars in bond for a few of Williams’ charges. However, he and Huffman were denied bond for the more severe charges, including murder and aggravated assault.