MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A man accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend’s brother and taking part in a shootout with police admitted to shooting the man but told police the victim grabbed him , said an investigator on Monday.
Mobile County District Judge Chief Spiro Cheriogotis determined that prosecutors have sufficient evidence for a grand jury to consider murder, attempted murder and other charges against Zackery Talmade Hannah.
The testimony described a chain reaction of events on November 7 that resulted in a fatal shooting, an exchange of fire between the defendant and police, and an intense manhunt lasting several hours in a West Mobile neighborhood.
“I mean, the allegations are certainly serious,” said District Attorney-Elect Keith Blackwood. “Anytime you have a shooting situation, there’s an obvious risk to people in the community, especially if it’s in a residential neighborhood.”
Defense attorney Stewart Hanley declined to comment after Monday’s preliminary hearing.
According to witnesses Monday, Hannah fired three shots at a pickup truck — two while the driver was inside the vehicle and one while he was outside. Later that day, around 3 p.m., he got into a domestic argument with his ex-girlfriend at a house on Bryant Street.
Mobile Police Detective Rory Graves testified that Hannah, 20, of Mobile, punched and choked the woman. He testified that her brother came to the house to protect her while she got her belongings from a storage shed.
Graves testified that Hannah tried to stop the woman from walking and pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at her. According to Graves, he pulled the trigger but the gun jammed.
The detective testified that Hannah then pointed the gun at the woman’s brother, 31-year-old Matthew Richardson, and shot him in the face. When the police arrived, he was already dead.
Graves testified that Hannah later admitted to shooting Richardson, but told investigators he tried to grab the gun and his back pocket.
Richardson’s family watched the court proceeding and expressed optimism that they will get justice.
“I think it’s going in the right direction,” said the victim’s father, Maurice Richardson. “I appreciate anyone who does what they did. I found out a lot of information about it today that I don’t think was brought to light in the first place.”
Other family members expressed loss and fear.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see life like that with a child who doesn’t have a father anymore,” said Richardson’s stepmother, Venus Richardson, who can be done is a huge help.”
Stepdad Charlie Henry added: “He finally got a good job, you know, doing good for (himself). Had (taken) his life – for no reason. I’m just trying to help his sister.”
After the shooting, according to witnesses, Hannah ran into the woods. Police discovered him about an hour later, according to Detective Julius Nettles. Hannah fired a shot — he later told investigators it was a warning shot in the air — and then ran back into the woods.
Nettles testified that a resident told police he encountered Hannah, who pointed the gun at him twice and threatened to shoot him. When officers tracked him down, Nettles said the accused fired and punched an officer in the legs. A K-9 police dog charged, and officers fired and hit Hannah three times.
“What caused the defendant to stop shooting?” Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Louis Walker asked during the hearing.
Nettles replied, “Based on my investigation, I believe it was related to the suspect being captured by a police dog.”
The grand jury will now consider charges of murder and seven counts of attempted murder related to the officers who were chasing him when he fired. He also faces one charge for molesting a police animal. He remains jailed in lieu of $1.8 million bail.
“I think all of that was addressed at the bond hearing, and Zackery Hannah has a very high bond,” Blackwood said.
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