Hearing expected Friday for Kathleen teenager accused of slaying sister

bpurser@macon.comJuly 24, 2013 

collins_bond

Carmen Collins, center, makes her way into a Houston County Superior Court in September 2012, where Judge Katherine K. Lumsden denied bond in connection with charges that she murdered her sister and tried to burn the family's Kathleen home down last summer. Collins is expected to appear in court Friday for a hearing. If the case proceeds to trial, it could be heard in August.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com Buy Photo

WARNER ROBINS -- A hearing is expected Friday for a Kathleen teenager accused of shooting her sister to death and setting a fire inside the family’s home.

Carmen Collins, who was 17 at the time, is charged with murder and arson in the July 3, 2012, slaying of 12-year-old India Ja’Nai Collins, a seventh-grader at Mossy Creek Middle School.

Carmen Collins, now 18, pleaded not guilty to those and related charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a crime at her arraignment in November 2012.

The hearing is set for 9 a.m. Friday in Houston County Superior Court before Judge Edward D. Lukemire.

District Attorney George Hartwig declined comment. Public Defender Nick White, who is representing Collins, also declined comment.

Collins is accused of shooting her sister to death with their father’s .40-caliber handgun in the foyer-living room area of their home and fleeing to Columbus with the family dog.

It is unclear whether the fire inside the home was set before or after the sister was shot. The gasoline used to set the fire was stored in a shed where it was kept to power the lawn mower.

Collins is accused of selling the gun in Columbus, where she was arrested July 5, 2012. The gun was recovered in a trash can outside a barbecue restaurant there, according to a sheriff’s investigator.

During a September 2012 hearing in which bond was denied, White said Collins denies she killed her sister and says she did not leave willingly. He has declined to elaborate. Hartwig also has declined to comment on the facts of the case.

The slaying of her sister was a few days after Collins posted bond on a burglary charge. She was subsequently indicted on a charge of theft by taking a motor vehicle. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Collins has a history of curfew violations and running away from home, according to the prosecution. She has been held in the Houston County jail since July 5, 2012.

If the case proceeds to trial, it could be heard in August.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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