RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – The Russell County Sheriff says a woman’s jealously over the woman dating the father of her children led to a planned kidnapping and murder. The information comes as investigators release chilling new details in the Capital Murder of 39-year old Tameka Skinner.
“Seems to be an old fashioned jealously deal,” Sheriff Health Taylor told News 3.
Four suspects are charged in Skinner’s July 27 Assault and Kidnapping in Columbus that led to Skinner’s shooting death in Russell County. Investigators say the suspected mastermind is 30-year-old Demetria Johnson, who investigators say recruited 40-year-old Shaun Johnson and 30-year-old Joshua Tolbert of Columbus along with 33-year-old Jayvonn Phillips of Seale, Alabama to help her.
“Tameka was dating Demetria’s ex-boyfriend, father of her two children, and she wanted her out of the picture,” said Taylor.
Investigators say Skinner was in a relationship with Martea Pettway. Pettway and suspect Demetria Johnson have two children together.
“Apparently Tameka had been questioning her parenting skills, or they had some issues in the past. Demetria just wanted her out of the way and not dating her ex. So, Demetria recruited the three guys to help her kidnap and take her over to Russell County and kill her,” said Taylor.
Detectives say Skinner and Pettway were assaulted around 1:00 AM, July 27, at the Huckleberry Hill Apartment complex in Columbus, Georiga. Investigators say Pettway suffered injuries in the assault but was left at the apartment complex. At the same time, Skinner was abducted, and her vehicle stolen.
“I can only assume she didn’t want to harm him because he’s the father of her children,” said Taylor.
Shortly after Skinner and Pettway were assault and Skinner was taken, investigators traced Skinner’s stolen vehicle to a location in Russell County. Investigators were on the way to locate the vehicle when they noticed another suspicious vehicle on Porter Road early Monday morning. The vehicle took off when investigators tried to make contact, and a chase ensued.
“Once the vehicle reached Wetumpka, Alabama, they wrecked, and all four individuals inside were taken into custody,” said Sheriff Taylor.
Sheriff Taylor says a handgun investigators suspect was used in the murder was recovered from the vehicle’s crash site in Wetumpka.
“I feel like I can prove who pulled the trigger, but I don’t want to release that right now. We don’t have any evidence to show she paid them anything. She just asked them help, and they agreed to help,” said Taylor.
A few hours after the suspects were taken into custody, Skinner’s body was located around 11:30 Monday morning in a wooded area near Porter and Bush Roads. Skinner’s stolen vehicle was located just a few miles away from her body. Sheriff Taylor says the suspects tried to burn the vehicle then conceal it. Taylor believes Demetria had been planning the murder for a week.
“We have a couple of statements that said the intention all along was to kidnap and kill her. What boggles my mind is we have gotten to a point in our society where life has absolutely no meaning whatsoever,” said Sheriff Taylor.
Skinner’s family tells News 3 they are devastated by the act of violence that stole a devoted mother from her teenage girls. Skinner enjoyed teaching dance at the Columbus church she attended. During Monday afternoon’s press conference, Sheriff Taylor made a promise to Skinner’s family.
“I spoke with the family, and I promised our office would do everything we could do get justice for Tameka,” said Sheriff Taylor.
Meanwhile, the four suspects remain behind bars at the Russell County Detention Facility. They are slated to be in court Wednesday morning for an initial court appearance. The Russell County District Attorney’s Office says the four suspects should not be eligible for bond because they are charged with Capital Murder.
News 3 will keep you updated on this developing story.