Police say September Columbus murder suspect shot victim and burned vehicle to hide evidence

Crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A man accused of a September Columbus murder made his first court appearance Thursday morning.

30-year-old Reuben Hensley was in Recorder’s Court facing murder and arson charges in the September 25, 2021 shooting death of 37-year-old Marjester Thornton.

Hensley was recently arrested in DaKalb County, Ga., by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Police said witnesses put Hensley’s red Mustang on Urban Avenue, off of Forrest Road, at the time of Thornton’s death. The vehicle fled and was followed by a witness shortly after the shooting.

Hours later, the Mustang, which authorities say was registered to Hensley, was found burned. Hensley is also facing first-degree arson charges. Shell casings were found on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Police say cell phone records put Hensley on the scene of the shooting and the scene of the alleged arson.

Police say Thornton was presumed to be in a relationship with Hensley’s wife.

“Our understanding of the facts is a little bit different,” said Anthony Johnson, Hensley’s defense attorney. “We do believe that is what Columbus Police Department is trying to presume and assume. Even up prior to it, there was no argument, no issues with Mr. Thornton or Mr. Hensley immediately prior.”

Columbus Police homicide detective Zachary Cole and Columbus Fire and EMS Sgt. Charles Collins presented evidence to the court.

Judge Julius Hunter bound the case to Superior Court and ordered Hensley held without bond.

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