“…teach him a lesson,” Suspects in Travers Murder Appear in Court for Preliminary Hearings

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - Two men accused of capital murder in Decatur appeared in court Wednesday to face charges in the death of Jamie Travers.

Charles Makekau and Dewayne Hicks are both accused in the 21-year-old man's shooting death.  Both wore light and dark gray-striped jailhouse jumpsuits, and each man smiled as they were led into the Morgan County Courthouse for their preliminary hearings.  They pleaded not guilty.

District Judge Shelly Waters heard testimony and determined there is enough evidence in the case for it to move forward.  The judge bound it over to a grand jury for further review.

Decatur Police testified about the events of June 18.  Detective Mike Burleson, the lead investigator on the case, said officers responded to a call of a burglary in progress
during the early morning hours of June 18, 2013.  They went to a home on Mitchell Pines Road, at the intersection of Highway 31.  When police arrived, they found Travers' body lying along the side of the Highway 31.  He had been shot to death.

Burleson testified about accounts from witnesses.  Travers' girlfriend said she and Travers were asleep upstairs when the men broke in.  She told police two men came in, demanded money and drugs and then took Travers downstairs.  Travers' girlfriend said she heard a gunshot. Another man brought her downstairs, Burleson said.  She said she saw that the men had masks on.

According to Travers' girlfriend, one of the men said "He ran, we gotta go."  She told police she tried to go outside to check on Jamie, but one of the men fired a warning shot and yelled at her to go back inside.  She did, then locked the door and went upstairs to call police.

In the investigation that followed, Burleson said police began to get tips that Caudle and Hicks had committed the crime.  Police interviewed several people.  Charles Makekau came in, the officer said, and gave an initial statement which proved to be untrue.  At that point, Makekau was charged with perjury and subsequently arrested by U.S. Marshals and Decatur Police near Birmingham.

Caudle is alleged to have told Makekau he wanted to rob a drug dealer, testified Detective Burleson, reading a statement from one of the defendants in court Wednesday afternoon. Makekau, he says, set them up with Travers, telling Caudle there would be between $15,000 and $50,000 in Travers' house, the amount varying from one statement to another.

Ryan Caudle, the third suspect in the case, did not appear in court Wednesday. U.S. Marshals arrested him in Detroit, Michigan in late July.  His preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 20 at 1:30 p.m.  Caudle is being held without bond in the Morgan County Jail.

Hicks, according to Burleson's testimony, told investigators he was at home and in bed asleep at the time of Travers' death. However, Burleson told the court investigators had located a witness who claims to have seen Hicks and Caudle together at about midnight, approximately 90 minutes before Travers was killed. Burleson says Hicks told investigators Caudle had asked him to help with the robbery but he refused saying he had robbed Travers once before and that Travers had come looking for him to get even.

Burleson also told the court investigators asked Makekau if he "felt any responsibility for Travers' death." Burleson said Makekau replied, "No. Everyone has to make their own choices and decisions."

In Caudle's statement to investigators, Burleson said, Makekau is alleged to have provided the access code for the security system in Travers' home. He said Makekau had been living in a downstairs bedroom at Travers' house and was one of only three people who would have known the code. Makekau allegedly told Caudle he wanted to teach Travers a lesson in helping plan the crime.

Read our previous reports on this case on WHNT.com.