Homicides spike in 2016, majority remain unsolved

Published 8:36 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Selma and Dallas County started off 2016 on a good note with no murders in January or February, but that all quickly changed in March when the first four of 17 murders happened.

The number of homicides grew from 11 in 2015 to 17 in 2016, which is the highest it has been in more than a decade at least.

“This is the highest I’ve seen in my time,” said District Attorney Michael Jackson. “This is by far the highest. We’ve not even been close to this number.”

Email newsletter signup

Jackson said one of the main reasons for the sudden increase is rival gangs retaliating against one another.

“There’s been a lot of gang warfare going on … and what you’re having going on is a lot of retaliation,” Jackson said. “The problem we have going on now is these people are retaliating against people’s families.”

The Selma Police Department investigated 16 of 2016’s homicides, while one was investigated by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.

The first two homicide victims of 2016 were killed in the same shooting on March 7 when T.J. Shelton, 29, and A.J. Lee, 27, were shot and killed at the intersection of Marie Foster Street and Selma Avenue. The case is still unsolved.

Twelve days later the third murder of 2016 happened on March 19 on College Drive. Christopher McNeil, 35, was allegedly shot and killed by his brother-in-law, 48-year-old Sandy Rhodes, after a domestic disturbance.

According to investigators, McNeil was arguing with his wife when Rhodes intervened and allegedly shot and killed him. Rhodes was arrested and charged with murder.

Cedric Williams, an 18-year-old senior at Selma High School, was the year’s fourth murder.

Williams was shot and killed outside of his residence on the 2500 block of Etheridge Avenue on March 30 around 1:30 a.m. No one has yet to be arrested.

The year’s next three homicides happened in April. Byron O’Neal McDonald, 27, was shot and killed April 2 around 1 a.m. It happened on the 100 block of South Maxey Street. The case remains unsolved.

Quienten D. Thomas, 37, was shot during a drive-by shooting on April 16 and died nearly two weeks later in the hospital. Xavier Waller, 20, Ken Prevo, 27, and Corey Pullom, 27, were charged with capital murder in the case for the alleged murder.

Teresa J. Petersen, 40, was shot and killed during what investigators called a “domestic violence shooting” on April 30 at a home on the 1500 block of L.L. Anderson Avenue with Marty Joe Ramsey, 50. The police department did not confirm it as a murder-suicide but were not looking for a suspect.

Taveres Serdarro Peasant, 26, was May’s only homicide. Peasant was shot and killed while sitting in a parked car in the driveway of a Cummings Circle home on May 18. Carloyd De’Edward Moss, 21, was arrested and charged with capital murder.

June and July had one homicide each. Jermaine Tarver, 27, and Vontrayvious Bennett, 19, were killed. Tarver was killed June 12 after he was allegedly shot by 23-year-old Vadarius Hall while playing cards at Towns Circle.

He died at the hospital after he was taken by private vehicle, and Hall was arrested in Miami days later. La’Darris Dees, 18, was also arrested and charged with capital murder for his alleged involvement in the homicide.

Bennett was killed July 28 on the 900 block of King Street. Joe Jackson, 20, was arrested and charged with capital murder for allegedly shooting Bennett. Jasper Cole, 24, was arrested and charged with hindering prosecution for allegedly driving Jackson away from the crime scene.

August and September had a clean slate with no homicides during the two-month period.

The only homicide of October came on the 15th when 23-year-old Tavaris Dion Williams was shot to death at the intersection of U.S. Highway 80 and Old Montgomery Highway.

Video surveillance from a nearby store helped investigators identify 36-year-old Carlous Levon Seals and 19-year-old Kennedy Louis as the alleged shooters. They were both charged with capital murder.

The year’s 12th homicide came in early November when a body found in the woods on River Road by a landowner was identified as 17-year-old Derrick Nichols. The case remains unsolved.

Katrina Moore, 40, and Coleman Moore, 20, were the 14th and 15th homicides of the year when their house was intentionally set on fire around 4 a.m. Dec. 8 on the 800 block of Pettus Street. They were mother and daughter. Katrina was on in-home dialysis, and Coleman suffered from cerebral palsy. Three others were inside when the home went up in flames, but they were able to make it out in time. No arrest has been made. Reward money has been requested by the District Attorney’s Office from Gov. Robert Bentley.

Jaequan Simmons, 19, and Quadriquis Bell, 17, were killed just two days apart the weekend before Christmas. Simmons was shot to death on Dec. 16 around 9:17 p.m. on the 1900 block of Kayser Street. Bell was killed Dec. 18 near Martin Luther King Street and First Avenue. No arrest has been made in either case.

The year’s last homicide came on Christmas Day and was investigated by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. Juanita Tripp, 73, was shot and killed inside of her home on Laredo Court. No arrest has been made.

Ten of the 17 murders of 2016 are still unsolved, meaning the people responsible for them are still at large. Anyone with information is urged to call the Selma Police Department or the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.