COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A man charged in a deadly January shooting made his first appearance in court Friday morning. A Columbus police detective says it was a drug deal gone wrong.
Jaquarius Cole is charged with shooting and killing Byron Petty. In court, he entered a plea of not guilty.
Columbus police say on Jan. 7, 2021, two officers were near 14th Avenue and 16th Street when a bullet whizzed past an officer’s head. Officers called for back-up and went to a nearby intersection, where they found a man who’d been shot.
At the scene, officers saw a Black male running down the street, saying his brother had been shot. Police found Byron Petty lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds.
During court testimony, Detective William Peterson said Cole went to Petty’s house to sell him marijuana. Initially, Cole did not want to sell Petty marijuana that night. When Cole pulled his 2014 green Honda Accord up to the house, Petty got inside.
On the stand, Peterson told the court that Petty apologized to Cole for what was about to happen, and Cole looked down and noticed Petty had a gun in his lap. The two began fighting over the gun. The trigger was pulled and Cole received a gunshot wound in his upper right thigh.
Peterson told the court that Cole reached for his fire arm located underneath his chair and shot Petty five times in the stomach. Cole told detectives the altercation took place in the car. Once it was over, Cole told investigators he pushed Petty’s body out of the car and drove away.
Cole’s attorney, Stacey Jackson, says his client was acting in self-defense.
“I believe what the detective testified, that my client was acting in self defense,” Jackson said. “It’s not any conflicting evidence that my client was shot first.”
The autopsy shows that Petty was shot once in the throat, twice in the stomach, and two times in the back.
Investigators found shell casings around Cole’s car. CSI also searched the car and found two of Cole’s guns and Petty’s gun in the trunk. Investigators also found 16 ounces of marijuana and $5,000 cash inside of Cole’s car.
Cole was given a $10,000 Own Recognizance bond for the drug charge, but no bond was set for the felony murder charge.