COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – 18-year-old, Richard Jernigan, Jr. made his first appearance in Recorder’s Court on Thursday morning. He is facing several charges following a deadly fire on 14th Ave. that left one man dead in March.
Jernigan is facing charges for murder, arson and possession of Methamphetamine following the fire that left 47-year-old Valburn Almonord Jr., dead earlier this year.
According to Sgt. Donna Baker of the Columbus PD, at the time of the fire, Jernigan fled from officers on foot. He threw a backpack on the side of the road where they found one gram of Methamphetamine inside.
Sgt. Baker said Jernigan admitted to lighting the residence on fire as he fled the scene.
Jernigan’s public defender a mental and physical evaluation and that request was approved.
Almonord’s father was in attendance for the hearing and discussed his thoughts with WRBL.
“Is that a reason to be upset at your girlfriend to go around and kill people? That’s kind of strange. I asked around and no one can say yes this is what has happened. To my understanding they don’t know each other. They are neither friend or enemy,” said Almonord Sr.
Jernigan pled not guilty to the possession charge and Judge Julius Hunter set bond for that charge at $5,000.
However, Judge Julius Hunter bound the case to Superior Court and denied bond for the murder and arson charge at this time. He also ordered Jernigan to not have any contact with the victim’s family.