DeKalb County police believe 42-year-old Willie Hammond was ambushed and shot in the head during a robbery at his Lithonia-area apartment, a detective testified Tuesday.
During a preliminary hearing for Taveyon McNeill, 19, one of three murder suspects in the Feb. 13 shooting, Detective P.A. Wright testified McNeill had been identified by a co-defendant as the shooter in the killing of Hammond, who was found dead in his doorway at 1201 Fairington Village Drive. McNeill’s mother, meanwhile, told police he wasn’t even in Georgia when the shooting happened.
Wright testified the trio went to the apartments to buy marijuana, though he didn’t say who was the seller. At some point, the crew allegedly decided to rob Hammond. While Hammond was standing in his doorway speaking with one defendant, McNeill allegedly sneaked up from the side, leading to a scuffle with Hammond that ended with a gunshot to his head, Wright said.
A PlayStation 4 video game console, money and a gun were stolen from the apartment.
After hearing the testimony, Magistrate Judge Curtis Miller found probable cause for the state to continue with the prosecution.
McNeill’s co-defendants, Javien Evans, 17, and Tamorris Tyler, 26, were arrested earlier this year and remain in custody.
McNeill was brought to the county jail June 25 after a tipster notified police he was in Arizona. Police have said McNeill’s mother, Arnez McNeill, drove him there to stay with a relative following the homicide, but the relative turned him in.
But after the hearing, Arnez McNeill, who faces a charge of false statements, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she never took her son to Arizona and that evidence will show she was in Georgia at work.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.