Houston & Peach

Unsolved killing among 2017 homicides in Warner Robins; Two child deaths in Houston

Houston County investigator weighs in on fatal shooting at mobile home park.mov

Houston County sheriff's Capt. Jon Holland talks about the ongoing investigation of the Sept. 14 fatal shooting of Curtis Thomas, 23, of Warner Robins.
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Houston County sheriff's Capt. Jon Holland talks about the ongoing investigation of the Sept. 14 fatal shooting of Curtis Thomas, 23, of Warner Robins.

An unsolved killing was among the six homicides that Warner Robins police recorded during 2017, the same number of violent deaths as the previous year.

A seventh death, the shooting of an intruder during a home invasion, was initially investigated as a homicide but was found to be justified, according to Melanie Byer, the administrative operations manager for Warner Robins police. Federal uniform crime reporting guidelines classify justifiable homicides in their own category.

The Houston County Sheriff's Office investigated two child deaths as homicides in 2017. One remains under investigation, with no charges filed, while the father was indicted on a felony murder charge in the second infant death, said Houston County sheriff's Capt. Randall Banks.

The agency also recorded two shooting deaths that are expected to be reported separately as justifiable homicides, said Chief Deputy Billy Rape. One was an officer-involved shooting in July, and the other was a September shooting of a man in mobile home park that remains under investigation.

No homicides were recorded in unincorporated Houston County in 2016. The cities of Perry and Centerville had no homicides in either year. So far this year, Warner Robins police have already recorded two homicides.

Here are thumbnail sketches of last year's cases worked by Warner Robins police:

  • March 2, Kenny Odel Hart Jr., 24, and Jabrial Odeal Adams, 26, a half-brother who lived Warner Robins, were each shot in the chest about 1 a.m. at the Jus One More sports bar at 4993 Russell Parkway, Suite 100. A fight broke out just before shots were fired. Trial is pending for Travis Bernard Thomas Jr. of Warner Robins on two counts each of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Two men were shot and killed at Jus One More sports bar in Warner Robins at about 1a.m. on March 2, 2017. Warner Robins police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson said they believe a fight led to the gunfire.

  • March 9, Edward McKellar, 43, was shot dead with a bullet wound to the head in the 500 block of South Third Street. He and two other men were playing with a weapon. Jemarcus Dwayne Duncan was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. Reginald Haulcombe Taylor was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence. Both are pending trial.

  • May 6, Rashaan Brack, 23, was mortally wounded in the parking lot of the Robin’s Landing Apartments complex at 320 Carl Vinson Parkway. He was rushed to Houston Medical Center, where he died. No arrests have been in the 4:30 a.m. killing.

  • June 5, Jason Jackson Howell, 39, was shot in the neck during a dispute over drugs in 200 block of Evergreen Street, police said. He died June 19. Kevin Blake Barwick, who was initially charged with aggravated assault, is pending trial on a felony murder charge.

  • Aug. 13, an armed Cartrell Brooks, 24, was shot and killed when he forced his way into an apartment at Lake Vista Apartments off North Lake Drive, police said. Malandon West, 26, and James Alderson, 26, were inside the apartment during the 4 a.m. home invasion. The justifiable-homicide case is being re-investigated after new information surfaced, Byer said. Police have released few details.

  • Dec. 9, Elliott Mizell, 55, was found shot dead in his bed at his Villa North Court. Daniel Maurice Thomas, 24, of Warner Robins, whom Mizell had been trying to mentor, was charged with murder, aggravated assault and burglary.

Police were dispatched Saturday morning to "a possible homicide" at a residence at Villa North Court, according to a Warner Robins police news release. Crime scene investigators remained on scene late Saturday afternoon with a section of the road

Here are thumbnail sketches of cases investigated by the Houston County Sheriff's Office:

  • May 30, a Houston County sheriff's investigator with the juvenile division was called to the Medial Center, Navicent Health, about 8 p.m. Antwan Right Jr. sustained an unexplained head injury at his Johns Road home in Warner Robins one day before turning 3 months old. The case remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

  • June 12, emergency responders were sent to 373 Faye Circle near Perry about 10:50 a.m. to an unresponsive infant. They believed the 4-month-old had probable skull fractures, and an ambulance took the infant to the Medical Center, Navicent Health. The next day, the infant was determined to be brain dead and was taken off life support and died. Ortiz Deion Smothers Jr., the infant's father who was caring for him at the time of his death, is pending trial on a felony murder charge.

  • July 3, Chris Cashell, 45, was shot dead on his wife’s 41st birthday by Houston County sheriff’s deputy Johnathan Lewis. The deputy was responding to a domestic call at the couple's Bonaire home on Green Island Road. Cashwell, who initially complied with the deputy's commands, was shot after he went inside and turned, with a gun in his hand, toward the deputy, who had followed him inside. The GBI investigated. A Houston County grand jury reviewed the officer-involved shooting and found that it was justified, according to its Dec. 12 report.

  • Sept. 14, Curtis Thomas, 23, of Warner Robins, was fatally wounded near the intersection of Maplewood Drive and Oakwood Drive in the Pinewood Village Mobile Home Park off Feagin Mill Road in Houston County. He was shot once in the abdomen. He collapsed in the front yard of a Maplewood Drive home about a block away from where he was shot. According to arrest warrants, Jennifer Brown-Gammill, 33, of Bonaire, was charged with making false statements to authorities about being a witness to the killing. Corey Deshaun Humes, 33, of Warner Robins, was charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly removing a gun from the scene. Cynthia Strong Bragg, 62, of Bonaire, was charged with making false statements to authorities about her presence at the scene. The case remains under investigation, but it may prove to a justifiable homicide, Rape said.

Tyia Clay and her best friend, Kansas Williams, were relaxing in the living room when Clay's next door neighbor started banging on the front door. She told them police had just shot her husband.