Suspects in Murder Make Court Appearance

Bond hearings were held Monday for three suspects in the January 2005 shooting death of 17-year-old Cedric Chambliss.

On Jan. 3, Chambliss was found shot to death in a car about 100 yards from the McNeil's parents' house. Investigators say the shooting appears to be drug related.

"I didn't do it!" said Clinton McNeil, 26, outside the courtroom. He is charged with capital murder.

His brother, 28-year-old David McNeil, who is charged with accessory after the fact, he had this say about the case.

"We'll be proven innocent," said his brother, David McNeil, 28, who was charged as an accessory after the fact. "Don't worry. It ain't no problem! We'll be proven innocent. There ain't no doubt about it fellows."

"They don't really have no proof," the elder McNeil said when asked why. "It's a joke. My family's innocent. We've never had any involvement. You can see me beating somebody to death, but never shooting nobody."

David's girlfriend, Regina Johnson, 35, of Quitman, is also charged with accessory after the fact in the case. Her bond and that of David McNeil was set at $25,000 each. Both bonded out after the hearing.

Bond for Clinton McNeil was denied. His attorney has asked the court for a preliminary hearing as soon as possible. At that time, the state would present at least some of its evidence to show cause why the case should go forward.

In court Monday, investigators said that the victim was allegedly selling drugs for Clinton McNeil. Chambliss was ultimately found shot in the head in a car near the Clarke and Lauderdale County lines.

Investigators say several things including jewelry, a cell phone and gold teeth were missing from the vehicle.

If found guilty, Clinton McNeil, who is well-known as "Hands of Steel" in the local boxing circuit, could face life in prison without chance of parole, or the death penalty.

His brother David, who is also a well-known local boxer, could face up to five years in prison. Johnson could face the same amount of prison time, if convicted.

According to court officials, a preliminary hearing for Clint McNeil could be held as early as next week. At that time the judge will decide if he still needs to be held or if a bond for him can be set.

The case against all three defendants will be presented to the August grand jury for possible indictment.


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