Jeffrey Hazelwood, the man accused of shooting two teenagers in the head on Monday behind a Publix supermarket in Roswell, Georgia, made a bizarre court appearance today.
Channel 2 Action News reports that Hazelwood, 20, stood shaking before a Fulton County judge on Friday morning. His hands were cuffed in front of him, and he wore what looked like a wedding band, although there’s no confirmation that he’s married. As he attempted to clasp his fingers together, his hands trembled while his head began to shake. At one point, he appeared to pet an imaginary animal.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) August 5, 2016
Hazelwood never said a word to the judge, but appeared to be talking to himself several times. His attorney, speaking on his behalf, waived Hazelwood’s reading of each charge. When the judge explained to Hazelwood that his next court appearance would be at 9:30 a.m. on August 19, the suspect seemed to understand. He slightly nodded his head at the judge, while he continued to tremble.
After informing Hazelwood that his bond was denied, the judge reminded him of his rights, including his Miranda and trial rights. The judge paused and acknowledged that defense attorney Lawrence Zimmerman was assigned to Hazelwood and present in court with him, but explained he had to go over his rights regardless.
Zimmerman stated that he had no idea why his client was shaking so badly, but guessed that it may have had something to do with being charged with heinous crimes. Zimmerman described facing the charges as a “a terrifying experience.” The attorney also said that he would try his best to help Hazelwood.
“We’re going to investigate and work hard to help this gentleman. It’s a sad story. Two young people are dead and a young man is charged. We’ll know more as this goes on.”
— Carl Willis (@CarlWillisWSB) August 5, 2016
Although the judge refrained from reading Hazelwood’s charges aloud, under the Freedom of Information Act, his charges were obtained, and include:
- Two counts of murder
- Two counts of aggravated assault
- Two counts of theft by taking
- Possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, or attempt to commit certain felonies
- Identity fraud
It’s possible that additional charges may follow. According to court documents, Hazelwood allegedly followed victims Natalie Henderson and Carter Davis, both 17, to the Publix supermarket on Woodstock Road in Roswell, where he shot them both in the head. He’s accused of stealing Natalie’s debit card, as well as a pair of jumper cables. Cellphone tower data and surveillance footage placed Hazelwood at a nearby Flash Foods convenience store shortly after the shootings, where he reportedly used Natalie’s debit card to buy gas.
Meanwhile, 11 Alive News reports that Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant stated that he cannot release any information on how the suspect knew either of the victims, or whether he even knew them at all. He also said he can’t release any information on why any of them were at the Publix shopping center on Monday morning. He did state, however, that the victims arrived at the store anywhere between 2 to 4 a.m. Their bodies were found two hours later.
— Renee (@Camera_girl_Nee) August 5, 2016
Shortly after learning about the murders, Hazelwood’s aunt, Kathy Dinwiddie, said that her nephew had “hurt” in him that was inexplicable. However, he’d recently moved out of his maternal grandparents’ house and was staying with different friends when the crime occurred.
“He has some hurt and anger in him, but I don’t know what it was about, only Jeff could tell you.”
People reports that Hazelwood had no prior criminal record, although he’s had several run-ins with the police. Drugs are not a factor in the case, according to police, but the information may change as the investigation continues.
[Image via Fulton County Sheriff’s Office]