Two Jefferson County residents who were arrested Thursday night will be held without bond while prosecutors prepare charges against them.
On Monday, Jefferson County Judge Kim Bridgforth ruled prosecutors have probable cause to charge Marlo Carter, 29, and Jameisha McClain, 29, with capital murder in the Oct. 14 shooting death of Richard Ratliff, 69, who was found in a bathtub inside an apartment in the 2200 block of West 10th Avenue and pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers initially went to the apartment for a medical call and according to a report, Ratliff was bleeding from gunshot wounds to his face and chest. His pockets were also turned out and he was missing his cell phone. Five spent .380-caliber shell casings were found while officers were searching the apartment.
McClain and Carter were taken into custody Thursday night at a motel on Blake Street.
Detective Steve Rucker reported that when McClain was interviewed, she said she had not been with Carter when Ratliff was killed and said Carter had told her he was going to rob Ratliff and wanted her to come along but she refused. She also said Another female had used her name in the robbery and that is why people thought she was involved.
McClain said Carter told her details about how he killed Ratliff and said he gun he used belonged to her and she would show officers where Carter had thrown it. She also said the gun was a .380-caliber. On Friday, McClain accompanied Rucker and Detective Sgt. Mike Roberts and took them to a wooded area where she said Carter had thrown the gun. Rucker reported finding a small black .380-caliber handgun and a cell phone while searching the area.
When Carter was interviewed, he denied killing Ratliff but did admit to calling Ratliff and telling him he had a female friend who was trying to rent an apartment. He said he told Ratliff he was thirsty and walked to a nearby convenience store where he got two drinks and when he returned, police were there.
Rucker reported that when he asked Carter the name of the female he was attempting to get the apartment for, “Carter thought for a moment then said it really was for his cousin.”
The initial break in the case came Monday night when Detective DeShawn Bennett received an anonymous phone call who said that on Saturday, Oct. 12, he had received a call from a person he identified as “B” about robbing Ratliff. The witness said he met “B” at a house on Mulberry Street and “B” talked about how he was going to rob Ratliff and wanted to use the witnesses’ vehicle but the witness refused. He also said “B” needed some one to hold the gun while he robbed Ratliff.
The witness said he would be able to pick “B” out of a photo lineup and gave a good physical description of him. He also gave detectives the phone number Carter had used when he called the witness. Detectives then went to the house on Mulberry where the homeowner said her son, Marlo Carter, had been at her house Saturday. The witness was shown a photo lineup with Carter and five other males and positively identified Carter as the male he knew and who tried to get him to drive him to rob Ratliff.
On Thursday, a second witness came forward and said she had been approached by McClain who told the witness that she (McClain) had been present when Carter killed Ratliff. The witness said Carter called Ratliff to come to the apartment because he (Carter) had a female friend who wanted to rent an apartment. When Ratliff got to the apartment Carter held him at gunpoint and forced him into the bathroom where he shot Ratliff and took his money (between $10,000 and $15,000) and Ratliff’s cellphone, then fled south on the railroad tracks.
Later than day, the witness called Rucker and reported that Ratliff’s cell phone was on the railroad tracks. Detectives went to the apartments then walked south on the railroad tracks. They located an Iphone which fit the description of Ratliff’s phone. A check of Ratliff’s call log showed that he had received four calls from the number that the initial witness had said Carter contacted him on about driving Carter to kill Ratliff.
Detectives also got a tip that McClain and Carter had bought two vehicles, a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser from Jacsil Motors and a blue Dodger Charger from Jonas Motors. The witness said the vehicles had been purchased the same day Ratliff was killed and said one of the vehicles could have been bought in the name of Carter’s sister. Detectives went to both Jacsil Motors and Jonas Motors and got bills of sale on both vehicles. They also talked to sales personnel who said a male had been with the girls while they were buying the cars. They were shown photos and positively identified Carter.
That night, Lt. Marcus Smith and Detective Chris Wieland were northbound on Blake Street when they saw a blue Dodge Charger and a silver PT Cruiser parked in the lot of the Day’s Inn at 406 N. Blake St., right next to each other.