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CPD still investigating after weekend homicide


Columbia's police chief held a news conference Wednesday afternoon going over a weekend killing in downtown Columbia.

Two people have been charged with the murder of 38-year-old Joseph Hecht, of Sturgeon. Only one has been arrested since the killing.

You can watch the full briefing in the player below.

Police have arrested one person accused of the shooting, 23-year-old Kesan McNeal. Officers said earlier this week they also suspected 24-year-old Marlin Johnson of the deadly shooting. Court records say each has been charged with a count of murder.

As of Wednesday, Boone County Jail records said McNeal was in jail custody being held without bond.

Matt Stephens, commander of the criminal investigations unit spoke at the conference about the ongoing investigation.

Stephens said police were able to get video from several video downtown which helped with the investigation.

Both District Flats and D&M Sound in the area where the shooting happened provided video to the police.

Police said both groups involved in the shooting were in several locations downtown that night, and may have been in the same place at one point.

Stephens said police are not exactly sure whether an exchange led up to the shoooting.

"What we have is video but we don't have audio so it's hard to tell for certain if there was an exchange or what was said by who or any of that kind of stuff because it's just a video clip," he said.

Chief Geoff Jones said it is important for police to get Johnson into custody.

"There are families out here that are affected and we want to make sure that justice is served in whatever way that we can provide that," Jones said.

Police said they are not certain if Johnson is still in the Columbia area. Anyone who sees him should call 911 immediately or CrimeStoppers.

"At this point we're wide spread and trying to look at every possibility that we have to determine whether we need to lessen that scope and focus just here in town or whether it's outside of here," Stephens said.

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Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.


1 Comment

  1. The police failed to provide answers to the most pressing questions in this case and the media did not follow up with the right questions:

    Was this a random shooting? Previous Tribune reporting said it was: “’It is believed this murder had a random victim who was just walking down the street,’ Police Detective Wilmoth wrote.” Today the police danced around this question. The media should have quoted Detective Wilmoth to Chief Jones and specifically asked to confirm or deny the random nature of the shooting.

    Was this shooting racially motivated? No media inquiries to answer this question. When the shooter pulls up in their car, blocks a group of people from crossing the crosswalk and asked the victim “What you say?” before shooting him it leads to so many questions. Where they supposed to say “Hands up don’t shoot” or “Black Lives Matter?” Too bad we can’t get any answers.

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