UPDATE: COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus Police have made two arrests in the triple homicide that occurred Monday, January 4 in Upatoi.
The two arrested are 17-year-old Jervarceay Tapley who is a cousin to the Short family and 19-year-old Raheam Daniel Gibson.
News 3 reached out to the Short family. They say that Tapley was not in relation to the family, instead he was a friend of the family.
Both are charged with 3 counts of murder, burglary, 2 counts of theft by taking a motor vehicle, and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.
Tapley is being held at the Muscogee County Jail, while Gibson is being held at the Harris County Jail. This is being done for security reasons.
Boren says more arrests are likely in this investigation, adding that the police are still in the early stages of the investigation. “We’re gonna do everything we can to not only get the people we have successfully tried and convicted, but we’re gonna get the other individuals on the streets of Columbus Georgia that were involved in this and we’re gonna get them off the streets,” Chief Boren said. Boren told News 3 that one of the biggest problems they have run into in the case is the “no snitching policy” that exists on streets. He urges people to contact police if they know anything in the case and to not put it on social media.
Chief Boren also says that any murder is horrendous, but to have it done in the way these murders were committed was senseless.
The preliminary hearing for both individuals is set for Friday, January 15 at 2 p.m. in Recorder’s Court.
District Attorney, Julia Slater says that per Georgia law, Tapley would be tried as an adult despite being 17. She adds that the two could face life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison with no parole or the death penalty.
News 3 reached out to 25-year Auburn Police veteran and current private investigator, Ricky Holder. He says the two arrests restore the people’s confidence in police, but agrees that more work remains in the case. “It’s like a puzzle,” Holder said. “You’ve got all these pieces of the puzzle now you’ve got to sit down and take the time to put all of this together. It’s a huge undertaking.”
After the press conference, News 3 spoke to Shevon Thomas. He is the attorney for Tapley. He says this is a tough time for both Tapley’s family, as well as the victims. He adds they are trying to come together and console both families, but says it is too early to make any speculations on the case. “There is supposedly a mountain of evidence- electronics and whatever else,” Thomas said. “We didn’t hear anything about fingerprints or physical evidence. So, I can’t speak to something that was never discussed there. Especially the fact that he hasn’t had his chance to go in front of a judge yet. We’re not going to speculate as to what they may have or may not have.”
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Police say 2 arrests have been made in the triple homicide investigation.
Police Chief Ricky Boren plans to hold a news conference Wednesday morning at 11:00. News 3 will be at that conference, and will bring updates as we receive them.
News 3 reached out to a family member tonight, who said they were aware of the arrests, but have been asked by police not to comment due to the ongoing investigation.
The family members told us the suspects will make their first appearance in court on Friday, and that some of the family plans to attend.