COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A 25-year-old man facing double murder charges and potentially the death penalty if convicted, waived his Recorder’s Court hearing Friday morning.
A public defender representing Quartez Thomas said her client entered not guilty pleas in Monday’s shooting deaths of two women outside the Floyd Road Family Dollar store.
The families of Jasmine Trice, 30, and Kiera Williams, 28, were in court. They spent several minutes talking to Columbus police Detective Sherman Hayes.
District Attorney Mark Jones confirmed that his office would seek the death penalty against Thomas.
Because the district attorney’s office has indicated it will seek the death penalty against Thomas, the hearing had to be postponed until March 23.
Death penalty cases require qualified counsel. Thomas’ attorney will come out of the Public Defender’s Office in Atlanta, local assistant public defender Robin King told the court.
The shooting happened around 4. Williams and Trice were gunned down near a car in the Family Dollar parking lot. A 6-year-old witnessed the shootings, police have said.
Police say Thomas and Williams had previously been in a relationship.
Because Thomas is accused of committing two murders at the same time, the case meets legal qualifications for the death penalty.
In addition to the murder charges, he also faces first-degree cruelty to children, four counts of aggravated assault and gun charges.
Thomas was arrested without incident about 2 Tuesday morning at a Phenix City hotel.