STPSO arrests 5 in connection to parish’s first homicide of the year

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SLIDELL, LA (WGNO) - St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office detectives say the parish's first homicide of the year was a drug deal gone bad. Five suspects have been arrested.

Detectives say 22-year-old Christover Davis, 20-year-old Cody Hartley, and 26-year-old Anthony Ussin were selling drugs to 19-year-old Amira Bickham, 22-year-old Joshua Gayles and the murder victim, 19-year-old Javonte Donaldson.

The group agreed on a price of $300 and decided to meet at the Baptiste Apartments on Gause Boulevard near Parish Parkway Sunday around 8 p.m.

Detectives say both groups were armed. The buyers pulled up to the apartment in a car. Donaldson and Gayles got out with guns. Christover Davis walked out. At some point during the transaction, both sides started shooting. Davis shot and killed Javonte Donaldson. Donaldson was shot once in the chest. Then Joshua Gayles shot Davis in the stomach. Davis is recovering at the hospital.

The two groups fled. Police started investigating immediately. Within 48 hours, they were able to get warrants for all the suspects, after interviewing several witnesses. The sheriff thanked them for their cooperation.

The sheriff says the sellers were running a small drug ring, and this crime is not gang-related. He says the deal was over marijuana, valued at $300. He added that it was sad to see a death over such a minor amount of money and pot.

Christover Davis faces first degree murder charges. The other four face charges in connection to the crime. They're being held at the St. Tammany Parish Jail.