Man charged with manslaughter following shooting

Published 10:51 am Thursday, March 7, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Sunday, Feb. 24 shooting death of a 23-year-old black female from Hayneville, for which a 33-year-old black Hayneville (Hicks Hill) man has been charged with manslaughter, did not happen at a club in White Hall, contrary to rumors.

Sgt. G. Lashun Hutson, an investigator with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, said there are so many rumors about what happened that he wanted to dispel some of them.

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Hutson said the victim, Kelsey Lynn McDonald, 23, of Hayneville, the suspect, Earnest Bennard West, 33, of Hayneville (Hicks Hill) and two other female companions had been at a club in White Hall, the Triple Spot, called Baker’s.

However, Hutson said, “She [McDonald] was not shot at Baker’s.”

“She was not shot there,” Hutson said. “So, where ever that rumor came from, it is truly false…totally false.”

While Hutson said the case remains under investigation, he confirmed Tuesday that West was charged with manslaughter on Feb. 24, as well.

Hutson said the victim, who was driving, and the three others were traveling east in a vehicle on U.S. Highway 80.

Somewhere on the highway, she was shot in the back by the passenger in the back seat, the suspect, he said.

Hutson said the passengers managed to get the vehicle stopped and “tried to render her medical attention.”

He said the victim was eventually moved from the driver’s seat to the back seat, and one of the female companions continued to drive east toward Montgomery and stopped at 2801 U.S. Highway 80 East, which is Fire Station 14 in Montgomery County.

He said medics took over and the victim was transported to Baptist South in Montgomery where she was later pronounced dead at 3:37 a.m. on Feb. 24.

Hutson stressed there was no incident and no argument at Baker’s.

He said this case stems from the issue of handguns.

“So, there again, we have a tragic loss of life where I believe could have prevented if that gun hadn’t been in his hands,” he said.

Hutson said the suspect “has a criminal history that would prevent him from being in possession of a firearm.”

Hutson said West was arrested by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and is out of jail on a $250,000 bond.