It started with bloodshed on Jan. 14, 2012, and it could have ended with a murder conviction against the wrong man.
Soweto K. Moody, 19, has been in jail 18 months awaiting trial on charges that included murder. On Thursday, the murder charge was dismissed and he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage to property and being an armed felon. Moody was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Two witnesses named Moody as the man who shot and killed 27-year-old Truemaine Jones on Feb. 5, 2012, in the parking area of River Glen apartments on East Boundary. One of those witnesses was Michael McCorkle, 21, who will face indictment on murder charges in Jones’ death.
According to Assistant District Attorney Justin Jones, McCorkle vowed revenge in the Jan. 14, 2012, shooting death of Doniel Hicks at River Glen. McCorkle held Hicks, whom he said he considered a brother, in his arms as he died.
McCorkle and his friends believed Truemaine Jones supplied the weapon that the shooting suspect, Christopher G. Smith, used to kill Hicks, the prosecutor said. They decided to punish Truemaine Jones and fired at least 11 gunshots at the home where he lived with his grandmother and siblings.
Jones wanted to make peace, and on Feb. 5, 2012, he went to River Glen to speak to Hicks’ brother. Moody was there. So was McCorkle, Justin Jones told the judge Thursday.
Truemaine Jones told Patrick Hicks he had nothing to do with his brother’s death. McCorkle didn’t believe Jones, Moody said Thursday, and shot him.
Defense attorney Harold Jones tracked down other witnesses who corroborated Moody’s account of what happened that night, the prosecutor said, and after digging into the case further and talking with McCorkle – who refused to testify against Smith – Justin Jones decided to drop the murder case against Moody.
“We believe Michael McCorkle was the shooter. We’re not in the business of prosecuting innocent men,” Justin Jones said.
McCorkle is in prison for an unrelated attack in River Glen on two men who were shot at and pistol-whipped.
Moody plead guilty Thursday to charges related to the drive-by shooting of Truemaine Jones’ home. He drove the car and Jordan Dukes, 22, fired the shots. Dukes pleaded guilty in May and is serving a 15-year prison sentence. Smith has been indicted for murder in the Hicks shooting.