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Decatur man, accused of lying about fatal shooting, pleads not guilty

Decatur man, accused of lying about fatal shooting, pleads not guilty

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DECATUR — Avery E. Drake, the Decatur man accused of witnessing the shooting death of a man prosecutors described as his stepbrother and lying about it to the police, appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstructing justice.

Drake’s case was scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 11 after Macon County Circuit Court Judge Phoebe Bowers found probable cause to try the defendant, who is free on bond.

Drake was arrested in the wake of the Dec. 5 shooting of Jayson A. Goodbred, 21, who suffered a fatal gunshot wound while staying in a room he had rented for the week at the Decatur Inn, 3035 N. Water St. He later died from his injuries.

The Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office has since charged 17-year-old Bryant A. L. Lowe with involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm in Goodbred’s death. Lowe, who is being prosecuted as an adult and has yet to enter a plea in the case, is also facing a charge of attempted murder in an unrelated shooting.

Authorities previously had described Drake as a brother to the victim, but prosecutors on Wednesday said Drake was Goodbred's stepbrother. 

Giving evidence at Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Drake, Decatur police Detective Brian Kaylor described how police investigations showed that Goodbred, Drake, Lowe and Goodbred’s girlfriend were present in the hotel room when the gun went off.

Police allege Lowe was handling the weapon as it discharged. Kaylor said the girlfriend described Drake as witnessing the shooting but he denied seeing anything when questioned by detectives. “...The defendant indicated that he did not know what occurred… and saw no one with a firearm in the hotel room?” asked law school intern Anna Rich, who handled the questioning of Kaylor under the supervision of the State’s Attorney Jay Scott.

“That is correct,” Kaylor replied. Rich then asked: “The defendant stated his head was under a blanket as he was in bed when the shooting occurred?”

“Yes,” said Kaylor.

The officer also said Drake was overhead asking Lowe about the gun, and whether he still had it, while riding in a car as Goodbred was being rushed to hospital.

Defense attorney Dave Ellison asked Kaylor if there had been any other witnesses to the shooting, and the officer replied “not in the room.” Asked if the weapon that shot Goodbred had been recovered, Kaylor said he was not aware it had been.


Mugshots from the Herald & Review

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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