MILTON — Melissa Pocopanni, 20 of Milton, the fourth defendant charged in a drive by shooting on Feb. 4, 2017, has been given the trial date of Nov. 5, 2018.
Pocopanni is charged with one count of murder in the second degree and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery (with firearm or other deadly weapon) in the triple shooting that left Thomas Buckhalter dead and Ashley Johns and Jermun Narin wounded. Matt Gordon, assistant state attorney, said through an email that Pocopanni would be tried by herself because she testified against the other three defendants at their trial.
On Sept. 14, a Santa Rosa County jury found Dedric Keandre Davis, 22, and Walter Ramone Ford, 20, both from Milton, each guilty of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. Kyhem Jalil Johnson, 25, of Milton, was found guilty as a principal to second-degree murder. The sentencing date for Davis, Ford and Johnson is set for Oct. 17.
According to Pocopanni's arrest report, on the night of Feb. 4, 2017 at approximately 11 p.m. a drive-by shooting occurred at 6630 Applegate Street in Milton. Thomas Buckhalter was shot and killed in the incident. Ashley Johns and Jermun Narin were wounded. Investigations by the Milton Police Department and the Florida Department of Law enforcement determined Davis, Ford, Johnson and Pocopannni occupied the car.
Per the arrest report, the car identified as Pocopanni's made a slow pass by the house and a few moments later came back around and stopped. Witnesses report the passenger-side windows came down and multiple shots were fired.
Quindarius Deramus, who may have been the target, said there appeared to be four people in the car and two of them appeared to be firing guns. According to Deramus, the people firing the guns were in the front and rear passengers’ seats. After the shots were fired, the car drove off.
One version of why this happened is that Deramus had recently ended a relationship with Pococpanni and had started dating Johns. Pocopanni's arrest report said Pocopanni had a fistfight with Johns and had destroyed Deramus' property because of the breakup.
Another version from the arrest report is that the intended target was Thomas Buckhalter. Raymond Johns, Ashley's father, said he believes Dedric Davis was retaliating for his uncle Anthony Lorenzo Lee. According to Raymond Johns' statement in the arrest report, Lee and Buckhalter had been fighting for some time and that approximately one month ago, Lee and Buckhalter got into a shoot out with Buckhalter getting shot.
Assistant State Attorney Gordon said Pocopanni faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison if found guilty.