3rd suspect arrested in Ga. police slayings; warrant issued for 4th
By Mike Morris, David Simpson
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A third suspect in Wednesday's shooting deaths of two DeKalb County police officers was taken into custody Friday morning, authorities said.
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office earlier Friday had issued arrest warrants for two more suspects wanted in connection with the deaths of the officers.
The new warrants were for 26-year-old William Maurice Woodard, also known as "Bo C," and for Mario O'Brian Westbrook, 31, who is also known by the name "Lil' Mario."
The third suspect, Woodard, was arrested later Friday morning by the sheriff's office fugitive squad and U.S. Marshals. DeKalb police planned a news conference for later in the day to discuss the arrest, according to a spokeswoman for Chief Terrell Bolton.
Police were still seeking Westbrook and had set up a tip line for information at 404-298-8200.
Both Woodard and Westbrook have extensive arrest records, according to DeKalb jail records.
Earlier this week, police arrested two men and charged each with two counts of murder.
One of them, Deanthius Jamal Johnson has spent most of the past 10 years on probation despite repeated probation violations.
When he was arrested Thursday as the second suspect in the shooting deaths of the officers, Johnson was free on bond on a robbery charge.
Johnson, 28, turned himself in at the county jail, Bolton said. Police earlier charged Herbie DeShawn Durham, 32.
Both Johnson and Durham listed Decatur addresses.
Officers Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, and Eric Barker, 33, were fatally wounded shortly after midnight Wednesday in a parking lot at the Glenwood Gardens apartment complex near I-285 on Glenwood Road in south DeKalb.
Police have not released details on how the officers were killed. Derrick Murchison, a resident of the complex, said the two officers, who were working an off-duty job as security guards at the apartments, had stopped a man in the parking lot and apparently were frisking him moments before the shooting.
Bolton said those involved in the crime "can't hide on this one. You might as well give up."
He wouldn't comment on what led investigators to Johnson, saying, "one mis-step by me on information that's not accurate could determine whether these people get the death penalty or not."
Durham apparently has no criminal convictions in DeKalb County and has not served time in a Georgia prison, according to online records. Durham did not speak during his first court appearance Thursday night in DeKalb Magistrate Court. He is being held without bond.
"I'm sure he'll be vindicated," said Douglas J. Hassinger, Durham's lawyer. "In the meantime, he will let the system take its course."
Court records show Johnson has arrests dating back to age 15.
Johnson already was on probation for giving a false name to police when he was arrested in 1997, at age 17, for receiving stolen property and fleeing police. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation as a "first offender." But in what would become a familiar pattern, he was charged with a probation violation less than seven months later. He was given additional community service time.
After he was arrested on battery and drug charges in 2001, Johnson served about five months in jail for violating probation. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker revoked his "first offender" deal and extended his probation to 10 years.
In 2002 and again in 2004, Johnson was sent to jail for probation violations.
He apparently stayed out of trouble in DeKalb in 2005 and 2006, but he pleaded guilty in 2007 to a domestic violence charge and was placed on probation by a State Court judge. He also was arrested Sept. 4 on a robbery charge. He bonded out in October. That case remains under investigation, said Adora Andy, spokeswoman for District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming.
The slain officers had been hired in recent months to provide security in the half-empty apartment complex.
Murchison, who lives in an apartment overlooking the shooting scene, had become accustomed to the officers stopping late-night visitors to the complex.
Murchison said he looked out his window and saw the officers with a man who apparently was leaning against a car to be frisked. Moments later, shots were fired.
Copyright 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution