One of five men charged with murder in the Dec. 12 shootout at Macon’s Wings Cafe has alibi witnesses, his lawyer said during a Monday magistrate court hearing.
Paul Christian, a lawyer representing Eric Watkins Jr., 28, called the witnesses to testify during a commitment hearing held at the Bibb County jail. Due to confusion, the witnesses were in a different part of the jail complex during the hearing and were unavailable to testify.
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cedric Penson testified Watkins is a member of the Blacc Team gang, one of two rival gangs involved in the shootout that killed three people.
When Watkins was arrested at his child’s mother’s home, deputies found a gun that has the same caliber as some of the shell casings recovered at the club, located south of Eisenhower Parkway on Bloomfield Road, Penson said.
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Witnesses also have said he was at the club at the time of the shootout, he said.
Markques Patterson, 29, also had a commitment hearing Monday.
Penson said Patterson was shown on surveillance video firing a weapon.
He also is alleged to be a member of the Blacc Team, an offset of the Gangster Disciples gang.
Patterson attempted to talk at one point in the hearing but was shushed by his lawyer, Kevin Bradley.
Bradley asked Penson if surveillance video shows who shot Patterson, who was wounded in the melee, and whether he fired a gun before or after he was injured.
Penson replied that investigators still are reviewing the video.
He said one of the other men charged in the case, 38-year-old Vertuice Wall, identified Patterson on the video.
When Bradley asked Penson to identify witnesses in the case, the detective refused, saying that people who have talked with authorities have been threatened.
“It is for their safety,” he said.
After listening to the testimony, magistrate Barbara Harris ruled that there’s enough probable cause for the cases against Watkins and Patterson to move forward in the criminal justice system.
Hearings are set for next week for Wall and 29-year-old Kenyata Lester.
A fifth man charged, 23-year-old Jaquez Terrance Foster, 23, had a hearing last week.
During that hearing, Penson testified that Foster was recorded on surveillance video pointing a gun at 34-year-old George Henley, one of the men fatally wounded.
Henley, also known as DJ Fresh, and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Nastajah Taylor, have been described by authorities as innocent bystanders. Taylor was shot four times, but she survived.
Foster, an alleged Crips gang member, is recorded on video moving from the back of the club to the front when members of the Blacc Team gang arrived. He fired at least three to four shots, some fired into a rival gang crowd and others as he was falling backward, Penson said. Foster was shot at some point during the incident and was sitting in a wheelchair during his hearing.
Foster’s lawyer has said his client acted in self-defense.
Cory Hollingshed, 25, another man killed in the incident, is alleged to have been a Crips member. A lawyer representing the family of a third man fatally wounded, 38-year-old Derrick Jackson, has denied that Jackson had any gang ties.
Jackson’s family filed a more than $1.14 million wrongful death lawsuit against the club, its owner and 10 unnamed defendants last week in Bibb County State Court.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.