Highland Home murder suspects appear in court, no action taken

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009

John Lewis Thomas, Jr., and Antonio Jamar McNear appeared in a Crenshaw County courtroom Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing, but District Attorney John Andrews asked for the hearing to be carried over due to Circuit Judge Ed McFerrin’s extended illness.

The two were arrested in the shooting deaths of Charles Kelley, 49, and Patricia Barginere, 48, at Kelley’s Grocery and Market in Highland Home on Aug. 27, 2008. Following the shootings, According to Andrews, the pair has applied for youthful offender status – Thomas was 20 and McNear was 19 at the time of the shootings.

“That’s just a natural part of the process,” Andrews explained. “As soon as Judge McFerrin gets back, he’ll rule on that.”

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Andrews has also requested for mental evaluations to be scheduled for the two, another expected step in the trial process, he said.

“For these guys, I’m hoping we can try at least one of them in November,” Andrews said.