February 14, 2017 10:13:32 AM
A Columbus woman accused in the 2014 shooting death of a Buffalo Wild Wings employee will spend up to the next 40 years in prison.
Tarkesha Carter, 27, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in Lowndes County Circuit Court for killing 27-year-old Brittany Foster in the restaurant's parking lot on Highway 45.
The court dropped five aggravated assault charges associated with the incident as part of the plea deal, District Attorney Scott Colom said. Carter's 40-year sentence includes two years of time she's already served in Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.
"I'm happy that my assistant district attorney and I were able to get the case prosecuted," Colom told The Dispatch. "And I think the sentence sends a strong signal that that type of murder is not going to be tolerated."
He added he hopes the lengthy sentence gives the victim's family some sense of closure in the case.
Carter's defense attorney, Charles Bruce Brown, did not respond to calls from The Dispatch.
Columbus police arrested Carter following the Aug. 17, 2014, incident. Carter met Foster first in the restaurant parking lot and shot her, said Maurice Johnson, an investigator with Colom's office. Then she entered the restaurant and asked to speak to Latoya Shies, another employee.
When Shies saw Carter, she ran out of the back door of the building, along with several other people. Carter followed and, once outside the building, fired several shots at Shies but did not hit her.
Investigators said the three women all knew each other but did not specify motive. Shortly after the murder, Carter's family members told The Dispatch the three were all involved in a love triangle.
Managers from Buffalo Wild Wings in Columbus declined to comment on the case.
1. LCSD board interviews superintendent candidates COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. CMSD, CLW officially agree to set up internet hot spots COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Monday Profile: Ware carries leadership skills from U.S. Navy to Starkville Utilities STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
4. Oktibbeha County authorities searching for suspected shooter STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
5. Female CAFB officers recall their military service COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY