One by one, Christopher Barber, 23, Lorenzo Helton, 17, and Willie Deon Daniel, 22, faced Judge James J. Hopkins, their hands shackled to their waists. All of them are charged with murder, armed robbery and possession of marijuana with the intent of distributing. The men were arrested Monday in connection with the death of Clarence McGhee, 26.
“We believe basically what it was was a drug transaction that led to murder and robbery,” Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley said.
The men showed little emotion as the judge read the charges and penalties Wednesday, but sniffling could be heard among the suspects’ friends and family crowding the courtroom. Tears shone on many of the audience members’ faces as they followed their loved ones’ attorneys out of the room after the appearance.
None of the suspects were allowed bond Wednesday. Barber and Daniel were both on probation and will have to have go to state court before any bond is set.
Helton will have another hearing to discuss bond, Hopkins explained to him. As he was led back to the jail, Helton stopped and motioned to his family and friends, his face seemingly questioning, before he turned and left the courtroom.
The suspects allegedly called McGhee and Penny Parham, 27, of Adairsville, to purchase marijuana. McGhee and Parham were delivering the drug sometime before midnight Sunday to Henson Circle in Carrollton as one of the three suspects gave them directions by phone, Langley said.
When Parham, who was driving, and McGhee reached the street, one of the trio allegedly flagged them down and got in the car. That man allegedly shot McGhee multiple times and robbed both of the victims, taking a cellular phone, the marijuana and money.
“(Parham) left there and drove the victim to Tanner Hospital,” Langley said.
McGhee was pronounced dead on arrival. Employees of the hospital called the police just before midnight, Langley said.
Langley said that investigators initially didn’t know which one of the suspects had gotten in the car; Barber, Helton and Daniel were pointing the finger at each other.
However, only Daniel’s charges in court Wednesday included the description of killing of another human being. Barber and Helton were charged with murder by aiding and abetting, having allegedly provided a cellular phone and helped Daniel flee the scene, according to the charges read by Hopkins.