BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Four of the victims in the Jan. 29 quintuple homicide were found in a back bedroom of an Ensley home, stripped of their clothes and shot to death, a Birmingham police detective testified today during a preliminary hearing for the three teens accused of capital murderin the case.
Three guns, two 9mms and a .38-caliber pistol, were used to kill Charles “C.J.” Render, 21; Ronnie Render, 42; Demetrius Sanford, 19; Jeffrey Davis Jr., 23; and Jonathan Sanchez, 23, testified the detective, Jeff Steele.
Charles Render had been shot 12 times, Steele testified, eliciting a gasp from several people in the audience of more than 120 people attending the hearing. Render and his brother, Ronnie, as well as Davis and Sanchez were found in the back room, while Sanford’s body was found in a carport that had been enclosed to make a room.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace broke for lunch after about two hours of testimony, most of which focused on a charge against defendants Artavius Underwood, 16; Rashad Stoves, 17; and Reginald Mims, 16, alleging that they committed an armed robbery that same night about five blocks from the homicide scene in the 3100 block of Avenue S.
The hearing on the capital murder charges will resume at 1:30 p.m.
In the armed robbery, Rayford Williams told police that Underwood, whom he knew only by the nickname “Poo Poo” asked for a ride to Ensley for himself and two friends, testified a Birmingham police robbery detective, Johnny Jones Jr. After he was directed to an alley between Avenues S and T, one of the people in the car began pistol whipping him, Jones testified.
During a struggle for the gun, it fired, leaving a bullet hole in Williams’ pants leg and a bullet fragment on the floorboard, Jones testified. Williams said two of the men he drove had weapons. He later picked Mims out of a photo lineup, but required a human lineup before he identified Mims as one of the defendants with the guns.
Defense lawyer Wendell Sheffield attacked Williams’ credibility, including the fact that he initially lied to police and admitted having cocaine that night to provide a female passenger who was in his car before and during the robbery. Police have not been able to find the woman, Jones testified.
In the homicide case, Steele had just set the initial scene he found that night, when the hearing was halted for lunch.
Two rooms in the house appeared to have been ransacked, Steele testified. Sanford, who was found in the front room, was fully clothed, and had been shot in the back of the head.
The other four victims either were nude or only had socks on, Steele testified. Each had been shot at least once. Ballistics tests of bullets recovered from the scene and the bodies showed each of the three weapons was used to shoot multiple victims, Steele testified.
Sheffield and Kira Fonteneau represent Stoves, Emory Anthony and Maria Fortune represent Underwood, and Don Colee and Mary Kay Laumer represent Mims.
All three are being held on no bond. If convicted of capital murder, none of the defendants would face the death penalty because the U.S. Supreme Court has banned executions of people who kill before they turn 18.
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