Saying a 19-year-old murder suspect posed “a significant and substantial risk to flee,” a judge denied bond in the case Tuesday.
Christopher Slaughter has been jailed since October in the shooting death of 19-year-old Aikeem Hall, a former friend who was gunned down in the parking lot of the Atlanta Street Apartments public housing complex.
With relatives of both Hall and Slaughter watching during a Tuesday court hearing, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy testified that Slaughter was found hiding under a bunk bed when authorities went to Slaughter’s father’s home looking for him the day after the shooting.
Slaughter was later taken to the Gainesville Police Department, where he agreed to speak with investigators.
Gainesville Police Investigator Bryan Majors said the shooting stemmed from a feud between Slaughter and Hall, who were once friends.
“He told me he had an argument with Aikeem for the last few days prior to that,” Majors testified. “He said he shot him once and when he fell, he shot him three more times, emptying the magazine.”
A 7-year-old boy was an eyewitness to the shooting and later helped police identify the suspect.
Slaughter’s attorneys indicated they may pursue a self-defense strategy if the case goes to trial.
The investigator acknowledged under cross-examination that Slaughter told him he had been threatened by Hall.
Slaughter’s public defender, Andy Maddox, tried to downplay his client’s actions immediately after the shooting.
Maddox told Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin that Slaughter was “not someone who was on the run, on the lam, leaving the state, fleeing the country. This is over a couple of counties at his dad’s house.”
Gosselin said Slaughter’s risk of fleeing was the most significant factor in her decision to deny bond.
“Right now I am very concerned about Mr. Slaughter’s risk of flight,” she said, adding that family members “probably were the ones who helped him flee” initially.
Slaughter may be in jail for some time before his case goes to trial, barring a negotiated plea.
“This is not a case that’s going to be tried immediately,” Maddox said. “This is a case that’s very early in the process.”