Several witnesses described Onorious Campbell, 19, as a respectable person who looked out for others, while police tried to paint a different picture during a hearing Monday afternoon in Meridian municipal court.
After testimony, the court found that there was enough evidence to be presented to a grand jury.
Police and witnesses gave testimony during a preliminary hearing for Campbell, who is accused of the shooting death of his stepfather, Arnold Brown, 52, of Meridian.
Police responded to a shooting around 9:20 p.m. Aug. 28 on 5232 Ash Avenue in Meridian, where they found Brown had been shot three times, twice in the back and once in the hip. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Three children were in a car next to Brown, a 15-year-old, a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old, police said. Meridian Police Department Detective Thomas Abate testified police also found six bullet shell casings, a billfold and a set of keys belonging to the victim.
Abate said Campbell was identified as the shooter by a witness.
Investigators are trying to determine if Campbell's alibi of playing basketball at a local church checks out.
No one else was at home at the time of the shooting, Abate said, and no guns were found. The shell casings have been sent to a lab for evaluation.
Based on the investigation, Abate testified, a male suspect exited a black four-door vehicle and left the scene in the same vehicle.
In July, 2018, Brown and Campbell had an incident that involved Brown getting shot, Abate testified. That incident stemmed from Campbell believing Brown was abusing his mother, Abate said.
During Monday's hearing, Jalen McDonald, 18, was among several witnesses testifying in Campbell's behalf. McDonald said he has known Campbell since he was in the fourth grade and he has a close relationship with him.
Campbell is “a big brother character and very playful,” McDonald said.
McDonald testified that Campbell was with him and his other friends before dropping Campbell off at his grandmother's house during the time of the shooting.
After hearing testimony, Judge Robbie Jones set Campbell's bond at $500,000 and prohibitted him from contacting the children who were in the car.
Jones said Monday's hearing was long, two hours, because he wanted to hear from police and witnesses.
"After hearing the testimony it still was the likelihood he could have been involved in actual criminal conduct, I felt like a $500,000 bond was reasonable based on the circumstances," Jones said.
Jones said based on what he heard Monday there was some animosity between Brown and Campbell, as well as a life insurance policy that would benefit Campbell's mother. Jones said he could not say if it was motivation, but he could say those circumstances could have been a factor.
A grand jury will determine if there's enough evidence to proceeded to a trial.
"He has the risk for life in prison," Jones said.