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Charges upgraded against two men in weekend shooting

MONTICELLO – Charges have been upgraded against two suspects inan alleged ambush shooting that officials say was one of LawrenceCounty’s most violent incidents in recent history.

After being originally charged as an accessory after the fact,Joel Davis, 36, of 509 Jones St., New Hebron, is now charged withmurder and three counts of aggravated assault. Also, Jason Davis,34, of 491 Garrett Road, Silver Creek, is now charged withpossession of a firearm by a convicted felon in addition to hisprevious charges of murder and three counts of aggravatedassault.

The Davis men were among seven arrested in connection with aFriday ambush shooting that left Richard Bernard Barnes, 25, deadand three others wounded.

Leon Hayes, 34, of 1700 65th St., Apt. M96, Gulfport; and BryantCauthen, 23, of 28763 Highway 51, Como, are also being held oncharges of murder and aggravated assault. Kabaska Polk, 31,Prentiss address unavailable; Derrick Jackson, 20, of 342 WestProgress Road, Prentiss; and April Garner, 19, of 500 Garrett Road,Silver Creek, were all charged with accessory to the crime afterthe fact.

Garner was released Wednesday on $250,000 bond. Bond was set at$250,000 for all of the suspects charged with accessory to thecrime after the fact.

Those charged with murder are being held without bond.

Lawrence County Undersheriff Willie Wallace said Thursday it’spossible charges could be upgraded on some of the other fivesuspects.

Officials said so far the investigation shows that Barnes, hisbrother Ricardo Barnes, 19, Christopher Lewis, 20, and MurphyPeyton, 19, were going to meet the group of suspects in what theyallegedly expected to be a fist fight. They were in a Toyotadriving along Rose Hill Road when they were forced to stop becauseanother car was blocking the road.

“One of the guys got out of the car, and that’s when he wasshot,” Wallace said.

Authorities said the shots fired at the vehicle came from bothsides of the road once the car was at a standstill.

“The (alleged shooters) were there, parked on the side of theroad across the ditch up on the hill,” he said. “Then there wassomeone on the other side of the road that was shooting aswell.”

Wallace said many of the shots were fired from the inside of ablack SUV, reportedly with shotguns and an AK-47 assault rifle. Thesuspects fled in the vehicle to a nearby residence, and then one ofthem abandoned the getaway vehicle in some woods nearby.

“It was over nothing,” Wallace said. “It was over a girl.”

The shooting took place near a spot where people often gather tosocialize on Rose Hill Road. Testimony from several witnesses ledto the seven suspects, authorities said.

“We’re interviewing some more people today, so some of thesecharges could be further upgraded and more arrests could be made,”Wallace said.

He also said it was one of the worst incidents he couldremember.

“This is the first type of slaying we’ve had that I can remembersince this sheriff’s office has been here, involving this manypeople,” said Wallace.