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Preliminary hearing for four arrested in Decatur crime spree

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - Four young men facing two capital murder charges and multiple robbery charges after a violent overnight series of crimes had their preliminary hearing at the Morgan County Courthouse Wednesday.

"All these cases that we intend to charge these defendants with were not presented today, they have not been charged with them yet," said Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson.

The co-defendants -- 16-year-old Cedric Lamont Cowan, 16-year-old Cortez Ocie Mitchell, 17-year-old Amani Juan Goodwin, and 20-year-old Joseph Cowan -- sat and listened as almost every detail of police investigation that led to their arrest.

"The judge has taken the case under advisement and will issue her written order as to whether or not she finds probable cause exists," explained Anderson.

Lawyers brought up everything from where bullet casings were discovered, to testimonies from witnesses, robbery victims, and even the girlfriend of one of the accused.

It was also mentioned that two of the teenage defendants implied to attorneys that they had been pressured or forced to participate in the deadly night of incidents -- and that struck a nerve with the loved ones that came out in numbers to watch the hearing.

"We've been trying to preach to him, stay away from people that don't mean you no well," said CJ Tolbert, the uncle of Cortez Mitchell.

Tolbert was one of many related to the defendants who watched as the hearing proceeded.

On the other side of the room white t-shirts dotted the pews, on them a large image of Joshua Davis, found shot dead in Wilson Morgan park, one of the two that lost their life that night.


Shirts worn by Davis' relatives in the courtroom (Shevaun Bryan/WHNT News 19)

"'Justice for Josh,' that's what this is. I'm here for my son," said the 25-year-old's mother s she displayed the shirt. "I feel for [the defendants'] family because it has been a tragedy for all of us. The violence has to stop."

"I came to support my nephew [Mitchell]," said Tolbert. "People just don`t know, it's a lot of pointing of fingers. A lot of names being thrown, i just hope it turns out the best for him.They did what they did. I hope he learns from this decision. "