This is a late breaking update of our top story this week. The original story, as it originally ran in The Packet, will follow.
More Suspects Arrested In Alabama Friday, At Least One Has Confessed To The Murder
What follows is the original story.
Three Arrested After Brutal Murder
Three young men were arrested Monday for the brutal murder of a 19-yr-old Columbus man early last Friday morning on 850 Harrison Rd off of Hwy 50. William Deshun Stallings was asleep on a friends couch when he was shot in the back of his head with a handgun. Lowndes County investigators worked throughout the weekend, serving at least five search warrants before arresting the three men Monday afternoon. Quinton Deangelo Harris, AKA “Cheez”(19), Alexander Demonta Brown, AKA “Slugga” (18), and Kahlid Rashawn Roby (18) were arrested in east Columbus and all three are charged with Capital Murder.
Lowndes County E-911 received a panicked phone call around 3:15am last Friday morning from Michael Love who told dispatchers he had heard two gunshots from inside his Harrison Rd. home. Love stayed on the phone with dispatchers as he reentered his home to find his mother had been assaulted and his friend shot in the back of his head. Lowndes County Lt. Clint Sims and Deputies Chad Waltman and Eric Granderson arrived on scene quickly after the call and cautiously entered the home with weapons drawn to assess the situation. After a brief discussion with Love, deputies radioed to dispatch to be on the lookout for three black males fleeing the area.
Lt. Sims rushed to the back of the trailer to attend to William Stallings, who was bleeding heavily from a single gunshot to the back of the head [believed to be from a .380 pistol-CK]. Sims applied pressure to the wound until a BMH-GT ambulance crew arrived on scene. Michael Love told investigators later that at least three black males had forced their way into the trailer and ran towards his mother’s room. His mother, Shirley Love, reportedly had heard the ruckus at the front door and blocked the door to her room with her foot. The assailants then fired one shot and gained entry into her room.
When Michael Love heard the shot, he said he immediately ran out of the home and into the woods. Upon entering the woods Michael Love said he heard a second shot and that’s when he dialed 911. It is believed the perpetrators tried to rob Shirley Love and then went to the other end of the trailer and shot Stallings. The three men then ran out of the front door and headed south towards Hwy 50, possibly to a waiting vehicle [The night of the shooting, one neighbor reported seeing a Green Mercury Marquis leave the area, but several other vehicles were reportedly under suspicion in the following days, including a burnt orange Chevy Tahoe and a black Honda Accord-CK]
Deputies Kevin Brown and Toby Rickert arrived at the home alongside the ambulance crew and began to search the immediate area around the home for evidence. Stallings was put on a stretcher and brought out by paramedics to a waiting ambulance. He was stabilized and transported to BMH-GT and then brought via Careflight helicopter to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Shortly after arriving at NMMC, Stallings lost his life.
Lowndes County District 3 Volunteers tended to Shirley Love’s injured her toe that she suffered while blocking the bandits from entering
her room. Investigator Eli Perrigin arrived on scene at approximately 3:45am and began to gather evidence. Michael Love’s brother Brandon Fields arrived on scene just after the ambulance departed, and he began to yell loudly to deputies what he thought had happened. [Shirley Love was identified erroneously in two seperate articles in the Commercial Dispatch as the mother of the victim. Josie Porter spoke with The Packet yesterday to clarify the situation. – CK]
Fields told Dpty. Sims : “They knew I was gone!! They’re always trying to fight, trying to hurt people!! That’s all they do. They came in my house and disrespected me and shot my man??? This is wrong- you guys (deputies) better hurry up and find these guys before we do!!”
It quickly became apparent that two shootings the night before may have been linked to the murder.
Around 11:45pm Wednesday night, E-911 dispatched officers on a call of “Shots Fired” at the area of the 100 block of Poplar St. in east Columbus. Officers quickly surveyed the scene, but could not find any evidence of gun activity. Shortly after 8:00am the next morning, an unidentified woman was told by her young son that there was a bullet hole in the wall of his sister’s bedroom. Columbus Police investigators found the bullet (a .380 caliber round) and searched the area for clues [Police routinely respond to one or two calls of “Shots Fired” almost every night of the week and most prove to be innocuous. It is not that the callers did not hear gunshots, or even that someone was not shooting- it is just that the vast majority of the calls result in no evidence of gunplay-CK]
Just over an hour after the call on Poplar, around 12:50am Thursday, Lowndes County Sheriffs Deputies raced to Portis Johnson’s home on 1171 Tabernacle Rd for a drive-by shooting. Deputies arrived to find that over 20 shots had been fired from two different weapons (a .40 Caliber and a .22 caliber) at the single-family home. Two bullets struck the front door, two more in the adjacent shutters, one bullet went through a window in a bedroom, one struck the tailgate of a 1998 Nissan truck parked in the driveway, another hit the fender well of a 2001 Chevy Impala and several bullets struck the brick walkway and front lawn of the home.
Lowndes County Detective Tony Cooper was called to the scene to investigate. The homeowner’s son, Portis Thompson, told authorities he had just returned home ten minutes before the shootings began. Lowndes County Sheriffs Chief Deputy Greg Wright told the media Friday morning that the possible connection between the shootings was being looked into.
William “Chief”(or ‘lil Will) Stallings had lived a troubled youth according to many who knew him. Stallings was a solid football player at New Hope High School until his life quickly took a turn for the worse on August 19th, 2007. Stallings father, Will Porter, had been in what was described by police at the time as an “abusive relationship” with William’s step-mother Mary Michelle Porter. The couple had just finalized a contentious divorce when Will Porter phoned a relative from outside a relative from outside his ex-wife’s home.
From The Packet, issue #737: A little after 8:00 p.m. 8/19/7 Michelle Porter was inside the house with a male friend. Her nine-year-old son was asleep in his bedroom. According to a Packet source, Will Porter was outside the house shortly before the shooting talking to a relative on his cell phone, telling the relative that he couldn’t take any more and that his ex-wife would have to die or he would have to die. The relative reportedly tried to calm him down but never realized that Will Porter was then outside his ex-wife’s house ready to act. Will Porter reportedly first tried to open the front door of the house, then broke in the carport door, which opens into the kitchen. According to Packet sources, Michelle Porter told her friend to flee and she started for her bedroom, where she kept a handgun. She was shot before she reached the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Will Porter fled the scene in his car.
Porter surrendered to authorities shortly after the shooting and he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. William Stallings took the situation particularly hard according to his mother, Josie Porter, who spoke with The Packet last Wednesday.
“He changed when that happened. Starting doing bad in school, hanging with bad folks, getting into trouble. It hurt him a lot, his father being away like that. It got to the point where he just lost his way.” Porter said.
Josie Porter said that her son had just began to turn his life around in recent months. Stallings had entered himself in a youth program down at Camp Shelby just south of Hattiesburg where he earned his high school diploma. He had a daughter in August of 2009 and moved back to Columbus to attend trade school at EMCC. She said he worked at Caney Fork by the mall until it shut down last summer and he had taken the spring semester off to look for work.
“He loved that little girl, loved her with all his heart. He was just starting to turn his life around, starting to become a man. I suppose the good Lord just needed him..when it’s your time, it’s your time I guess.” Porter said.
Porter did have a juvenile record with the Lowndes County Sheriffs, but had not been in trouble with the law in recent years. Porter was assaulted twice in the last year, having been threatened with at gunpoint in August of 2010 and shot in the leg earlier this year. In the latter incident, Stallings checked himself into BMH-GT with a bullet wound to his lower right leg. When questioned by authorities Stallings said that he was just walking down Poplar St. when he heard a loud argument from inside a home near 150 Poplar. He said that as he approached the home to investigate, shots rang out and he was struck in the leg. Columbus Police failed to find any evidence and do not have any recorded complaints of gunfire from that date. A friend of Stalling – speaking on the condition of anonymity – said he thinks William didn’t want to tell authorities who the shooter was for fear of retaliation.
Michael Love, who called 911 the night of the shooting, echoed Stallings mother’s notion that William was trying to get his life turned around: “He was like a brother to me. We would always talk about the ol’ football days and all about his dad…he missed him. He was tryin hard to get things going. We talked all the time.”
Over the weekend, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department searched three homes in hopes of gathering more evidence. An anonymous tip to Golden Triangle Crimestoppers provided a key lead in the investigation and Detective Eli Perrigin assembled a team to search for the suspects. At approximately 3:00pm Monday afternoon, Metor Narcotics agents and US Marshals joined Lowndes County Deputies and stormed a home on 225 Taylor St. in east Columbus. Quinton “Cheez” Harris and Alexander “Slugga” Brown were arrested without incident and transported to Lowndes County Adult Detention Center (LCADC).
Investigators searched inside the home and confiscated a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun and several rounds of ammunition. Marshals searched several vehicles around the home and discovered a SKS semi-automatic assault rifle in a broken down Caprice sedan parked on the lawn. A Nissan Pathfinder was searched and evidence was recovered inside that prompted investigators to have it towed from the scene along with the Caprice. [I believe I saw shell casings being removed from the Pathfinder, but could not confirm that suspicion. Several magazines filled with ammunition for the SKS were found inside the home(Typically 7.62 x 39 caliber), but neither that rifle or the shotgun played a part in any of the three shootings to my knowledge-CK]
The two young men were questioned at LCADC and then placed in separate cells allegedly away from the general population. The investigative team then assembled later Monday night in the area of Military and 8th Avenue to serve another search warrant in hope of finding the third suspect. Just before the team was ready to move in on the next location, a tip came in that their third suspect had just returned to his east Columbus home.
[While in the area for the 8th Avenue search warrant, I picked a poor parking spot. There are concrete blockades across 8th Avenue on either side of the railroad tracks at Railroad Street. I foolishly thought I could pull around these blockades and park to wait for the search to start. I pulled a little too far. My mistake became glaringly clear when my front right wheel dropped into the deep ditch and my rear left wheel came off the ground. I tried reversing in 4 Wheel Drive mode, but the truck wouldn’t move. Luckily, a few good samaritans in the area brought their trucks over with a chain. Though they laughed the entire time (as did the crowd that had gathered), they helped me out of the ditch. Once out of the ditch, I was greeted with jeers and suggestions that I should trade in my Ford for a Chevy. Once a sizable crowd had gathered, someone said, “Hey, that’s the Packetman!” (Half the crowd left at that point. I was told by a few that I should pull out my camera and get a picture of the truck in the ditch. Again, thank you to everyone who helped me. Now you know why I was in such a hurry. – JD]
Shortly after 8:30pm Monday, the team moved in on the reported home of Kahlid Roby at 109 Poplar St. Marshals arrested Roby and searched his home and car in hope of
finding more evidence. As Roby was being escorted to the cruiser an investigator came upon two pit bulls locked in a small utility closet in the carport of the home. A small puppy was sitting next to a larger male who was clearly a victim of abuse. The dog had several cuts on its body and was anchored to the ground with several weights, which were tied to its neck. The Mississippi State Legislature recently passed a law making animal cruelty a felony. Although Roby was not immediately charged, he openly admitted that the dogs were his. Animal Control Officer Bobby Reeves came to the scene and took the dogs away. [When they were released from the closet, the dogs were obviously thrilled at the prospect of affection, because they happily licked the faces of the officers that got close. – JD]
Several neighbors had said that Roby had been the cause of trouble in the neighborhood for quite some time. One neighbor told The Packet that he was friends with “Slugga” Brown and that the two of them had gotten caught stealing a safe from a neighbor next door a few years back. Columbus Police Public Information Officer Terrie Songer confirmed that both Brown and Roby had been charged with Burglary at that residence in June of 2010. Investigators have said in several media outlets that possible gang affiliations may have played a role in the shootings. WCBI reported that the Black Gorilla Family (BGF) was the original gang name that entered into the discussion. The Vice Lords and The Gangster Disciples names have been mentioned more than once. Sources close to the investigation said that, although some of the young men involved had been known to be affiliated with gang activity, the catalyst of this dispute seems to center around a battle over a young lady.
Michael Love told The Packet Wednesday that: “The whole gang thing is really being blown out of proportion. There’s some bad guys involved, but I don’t think it’s really the main thing going on here. William was trying to get his stuff straight, I’m not with him all the time-you know….but I know he was really working to get straightened up”
Love also cast his doubts as to whether all of the suspects were involved. “I just don’t think Slugga would be down for something like this. It’s just not what he’s about. We just ran into him the other day, we shook hands…we were fine” Love said.
Slugga Brown’s mother is in agreement with Love and says the Lowndes County Sheriffs may have jumped to conclusions on their investigation. Jackie Brown told The Packet Wednesday that both Quinton Harris and her son Alexander were at her home sleeping when the shooting occurred:
“My son was at home all night. He had to be at Columbus High at 7:00am to catch the bus for graduation. My nephew came knocking at 2:00am to hang out and watch TV, and Slugga was sitting right there on the couch. Quinton has been living with us since last July so he wouldn’t be out on the streets…they both were here… I went out and told my Nephew to go ahead and leave a bit later (the volume was too loud)…and Slugga was still there. Now, I want the deputies to explain to me why they wouldn’t even listen to me when I told them that?” Brown said.
Brown went on to say that she told Deputies that she had at least four witnesses who could put both boys in her house that night.
“They said it wouldn’t make a difference. If you ask me, it sounds like an inside job. Those boys he was stayin with is trouble…Mike’s brothers Brandon and Chris are trouble. How would my son even know where William was staying.They are twistin’ their story over there…first thing, how did he get out of that house so quick…I’m just concerned the deputies aren’t lookin at every angle. It’s been two days–I can’t visit my son, and he hasn’t gotten a phone call, either.” Brown exclaimed.
She said that the boys wouldn’t have kept a bunch of guns laying around the house if they thought the police were looking for them. She also said that the guns in the home were hers and her husbands.
“Slugga knows he’s on probation…he’s not gonna have a bunch of guns laying around..we got those guns two years ago when my girlfriend got into a bad relationship with Thunder Smith. He followed her over here all the time, came knockin on our door. We had to do something” Brown said.
Joe “Thunder” Smith was charged in the murder of Linda Snell at the Cypress Park Apts off of Lehmburg in August 2010. Smith was caught at a gas station in Brooksville after a short manhunt. Columbus Police confirmed that the morning before the murder Linda Snell had called 911 while trying to escape Smith and she had taken refuge in Brown’s home on Taylor St.
“Maybe the detectives need to do some more digging? Those people who live on Tabernacle are my son’s friends–why would he shoot at his friend’s?? My momma lives next door(at 1147 Tabernacle)..her house got shot,too. You think he did that? That boy Mike(Love) told me he din’t think my boy did it- how ’bout that?” Brown said.
Another family member of Brown’s said that someone threatened to kill Slugga at his graduation ceremony. She said her son didn’t have anything to do with gangs anymore. Brown said that he left the Columbus School System after BGF members held a knife to his throat at school. She called The Packet late last night with what she says is news that will set her son and his friend free. Brown said someone stepped forward last night who has intimate knowledge of what happened, and that the Lowndes County Deputies will know the whole story now.
William Stallings funeral will be held at Shiloh Full Gospel Church Saturday at 11am. Josie Porter, Michael Love and Jackie Brown all said that the whole series of events just doesn’t make sense.
“That’s my child…he was so full of life..he was just startin to do things right” Porter said. Lowndes County investigators said that the work is not nearly over in regards to this case and that some evidence is being brought to Jackson for testing this Friday. Golden Triangle Crimestoppers Coordinator Terrie Songer said yesterday that they are still taking tips on this investigation. Anyone with information should call 1-800-530-7151. [Several sources said that the murder weapon, a .380, was recovered during the investigation. – CK]