A man who has been in jail on other charges for the last year, is now facing murder charges for a fatal shooting in 2014.
At about 6:30 a.m. June 23, 2014, deputies responded to the 5800 block of 11th Street East to reports of a burglary in progress. When they arrived deputies found an alleged victim who claimed he had been shot. Although, paramedics could not find any gunshot wounds they transported him to a hospital for a drug-related issue.
While he was en route to the hospital, he told paramedics that there was someone else who had been hit in a car.
Deputies checked the area and found Samuel Edwards, 29, shot dead inside a silver Chevrolet Impala in the 5700 block of the same street. Johnson had been shot in the neck, left hand and head, according to an arrest report.
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On Tuesday, detectives charged Tavaris “40” Johnson, 28, with second-degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting of Edwards. He is being held without bond.
Johnson had been in jail since Sept. 1, 2015, on unrelated charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after police said he fired a handgun into the air and at his live-in girlfriend.
Johnson has also been in jail on a home invasion he was charged with on Oct. 2, 2015. According to police, Johnson and his co-defendant broke into a home in the 2100 block of 13th Street West through a rear window. Police said one stuck his gun in a woman's mouth and demanded money while the other held another victim down on the bed.
An alleged witness to the fatal shooting of Edwards first reached out to detectives in the case through a letter received on June 7, an arrest report states. The witness said he had seen “Sam” be murdered in Oneco, and had witnessed the murder plot.
The witness said he hadn’t come forward before because he feared for his and his family’s life. After the victim was killed by Johnson, he was robbed of a bag of money.
On June 21, the witness told detectives that he had seen Johnson come out of a bedroom wearing all black and armed with a revolver in a home in the 5700 block of 11th Street East. The witness had left the home during those early morning hours and had gone to a house across the street.
Edwards arrived soon thereafter and backed his car into the carport, which he often did. The witness reportedly told detectives that Edwards was known to fall asleep in his car.
The witness told detectives he later heard Johnson and another man whispering behind the fence of the home where he was, not knowing that he was there.
“He described three holes in the fence through which he could see,” homicide detective Darryl Davis stated in the report. “He said he heard one loud gunshot and looked up through the fence.”
The witness said he saw Johnson open the car door, grab a backpack and then run back across the street, the report states.
On July 6, detectives interviewed a second alleged witness. The witness told detectives that Johnson had admitted two weeks after the fact to shooting into the car “Sam” was in and that Edwards would not have been able to see him coming.
Johnson was present during a search warrant of the home where Edwards had been parked, the report states. When asked to come to the sheriff’s office for an interview, he refused.