Merritt waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Winona City Court. Represented by Grenada attorney Bob Laster, Merritt was granted a bond reduction, from $100,000 to $10,000 for each charge of aggravated assault.
According to investigating officer Antreon Moore, on the evening of August 10, officers were dispatched to the corner of Mortimer and Academy Streets where they discovered a 15-year-old victim, suffering from stab wounds in both arms and his abdomen. Moore said the victim identified Merritt as the assailant.
The victim was transported by ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
According to witnesses on the scene, Moore said, the stabbing was the result of an alleged altercation inside the Jitney Junior convenience store, located at the corner of Highway 407 and Church Street. Moore said the incident started out as a fist fight, and it was not until the fight was over that the victim realized he had been stabbed.
Merritt was also bound over on a second count of aggravated assault in connection with a subsequent shooting.
A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday for Deion Stinson, 20, of Winona, who is also charged in connection with the shooting which occurred shortly after the stabbing on August 10. Stinson is facing charges of drive-by shooting.
According to testimony by Captain Tommy Bibbs, who is leading the investigation into the stabbing and subsequent shooting, the 15-year-old victim is the brother of Stinson, and upon learning about his brother’s injuries, Stinson appeared at the scene in his vehicle. Bibbs said officers at the scene reported that shortly after arriving, Stinson sped away from the scene in “a manner where they thought some trouble was coming.”
Bibbs testified that within a few minutes, officers were dispatched to a shooting on North Union Street, near the intersection of Justy Street.
Bibbs testified that according to witness statements, Stinson allegedly pulled up to Merritt’s home, asked about Merritt’s whereabouts, pulled away from the house, returned a few minutes later, and fired a weapon out of the window of the vehicle.
“Witnesses said gunshots were coming from [Stinson’s] car,” Bibbs said. “Witnesses alleged Merritt fired back at Stinson’s car.”
Bibbs said the taillights on Stinson’s car were shot out in the altercation.
During cross examination by Stinson’s attorney James Powell, Bibbs said no spent bullets were found near Merritt’s home.
“I do not know where the shots landed,” Bibbs said.
During cross examination, Powell contended that Stinson was actually the party being fired upon, and following the shooting, Powell said Stinson reported the shooting to Winona Police.
Answering Powell’s question, Bibbs confirmed that police had not found any physical evidence of Stinson’s involvement in the shooting. However, he said “at least three witnesses” reported that shots were fired from Stinson’s car.
Judge Devo Lancaster said he found sufficient reason that a crime was committed and bound Stinson’s case over to the action of the grand jury.
Bond, originally set at $100,000, was reduced to $20,000.
Misdemeanor charges of discharging a weapon inside the city limits against Stinson were remanded to the file.