By MATT THACKER
A Jeffersonville man appeared in court Monday on preliminary murder charges, two days after a New Albany man was found shot.
At 8:48 p.m. Saturday, Jeffersonville Police Department officers went to the 1900 block of Village Green Boulevard — which is French Quarter Apartments off of Middle Road — after receiving a call about an unconscious man behind the wheel of a vehicle. Mark Merreighn, 45, was found bleeding from a single gunshot wound to the back, according to a JPD press release.
Merreighn was transported to Clark Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Bradley A. Shackleford, 35, who lives at the apartment complex, was taken into custody after detectives learned Merreighn had been to the apartment complex to meet with Shackleford, who was described as an acquaintance. Detective Todd Hollis said Merreighn was shot in the apartment, and was able to flee to his vehicle. He drove a short distance in the parking lot before losing consciousness.
“It was a neighbor who saw him stooped over the steering wheel and called [police],” Hollis said.
When emergency medical services personnel arrived, Merreighn was pulled out of the vehicle and blood was found on the seat. Police said Shackleford was cooperative and admitted shooting Merreighn in his apartment following a dispute, but he claimed the shooting was in self-defense. He directed detectives to where he had hidden the gun in his apartment and police executed a search warrant.
“We don’t believe at this time he acted in self-defense,” Hollis said.
He said there were three people in the apartment, including one witness to the shooting. Neither the shooter nor the witness called 911, Hollis said. He added that police have not found any evidence the victim had a weapon.
Police believe drug activity was involved in the altercation, although that was denied by Shackleford, Hollis said.
Shackleford kept his head down as he was taken into court in a wheelchair Monday. A family member said he was in a wheelchair because he has a limp.
Senior Judge Robert Bennett, filling in this week in Clark Superior Court No. 1, ordered Shackleford be held without bond. He also assigned Shackleford a public defender after he answered that he was not employed and had no money.
Bennett granted a request from the prosecutor for 72 hours to file charges. An initial hearing was set for Thursday afternoon.
The police investigation is ongoing and Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said they are still reviewing the case to determine what charges to file. While Shackleford has no known criminal record, Merreighn has a lengthy criminal history that includes being charged at least five times with battery or domestic battery and three times with theft in Clark County.
Visitation for Merreighn was set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Newcomer Funeral Home in New Albany. Funeral services will follow the visitation at 1 p.m. at the Paul F. Kraft Sr., Memorial Chapel at the funeral home.