PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) – Two suspects who are accused of killing Moody police officer Lt. Stephen Williams will have their cases heard by a grand jury, a St. Clair County judge ruled Tuesday.
Suspects Tapero Corlene Johnson, 27, and his girlfriend, Marquisha Anissa Tyson, 28, have both been in custody since their arrest in June. Both were charged with capital murder after Lt. Williams was shot and killed responding to a disturbance call outside a Moody motel earlier that month.
In court Tuesday, prosecutors said Tyson purchased a two-night stay at the Super 8 in Moody, where her vehicle was also found.
According to Tyson’s defense attorney Emory Anthony, Tyson reported renting the hotel after Johnson told her that four men from Elyton Village were after them. Anthony said Tyson filed a report over her concerns with Birmingham police.
While the couple was at the motel on the night of June 2, investigators said 911 dispatchers received a total of six calls from the room where the two were staying. Prosecutors played one recording of Tyson asking for help, reporting that a group of men was outside.
Randy Hurst, the lead investigator on the case for the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, said that partners with the East Metro Area Crime Center (EMACC) obtained the surveillance video recordings from the motel and the 911 calls.
Hurst testified that the EMACC team was able to sync up the emergency calls with the real-time surveillance video. According to investigators, there was not a group of men outside the motel, based on the video evidence.
The video was played in court Tuesday, despite an objection from Tyson’s defense team. Tyson’s lawyers said they had not seen the video that was produced by EMACC.
Lt. Williams’ family was present for the hearing, but left before the graphic video that showed his final moments.
In the video, Lt. Williams is hit by a barrage of bullets outside the couple’s apartment unit. A 911 call with dispatchers was active at the time Williams was shot.
In interviews, Tyson said she did not fire a gun, but admitted to legally purchasing some of the firearms. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
Despite a two-day reservation, prosecutors alleged there was not any clothing or even a toothbrush found in the room. Instead, officers said they found a total of five guns and marijuana inside the motel room. More than 40 spent shell casings were found at the scene, fired from four weapons.
Deputies said they recovered additional firearms and ammunition from Tyson’s vehicle.
Towards the end of the hearing, Tyson’s defense attorney pressed Hurst for information on why Tyson was charged and if law enforcement’s theory was that she lured an officer there.
Prosecutors objected to the question, saying it calls for speculation. Eventually, Hurst said that based on information they had, Tyson renting the room, and the timing in between the 911 calls, that it almost appeared “someone was watching for cops as they came in.”
A judge did not make an immediate ruling after the conclusion of the hearing. He later issued his order that Tyson’s case be bound to a grand jury, according to her lawyers.
It’s unclear when a grand jury may consider the case. Stay with CBS 42 for updates.
- Birmingham Legion FC Raises $8,800 For Civil Rights Institute
- Sports bars brace for possible losses if 2020 football season is canceled
- Back to school: Lawmakers debate safest options for students, teachers as schools prepare to reopen
- Hotel owners concerned about football season in Tuscaloosa
- 100 arrested after night of looting in downtown Chicago; 13 police injured