Murder case takes bizarre twist

Why would a mother lie to the police about her own son’s murder?

That’s just one of the vexing issues the Peachtree City Police Department is dealing with in the city’s first murder in years.

The Peachtree City Police Department announced charges Thursday relating to the death of Michael Tolbert Jr., who was found deceased behind the Wisdom Point shopping center Aug. 3.

Tolbert’s mother, Wanda Barber, 58, of Wynnmeade Parkway, was arrested and charged with false statements and concealment of facts in matters within jurisdiction of state.

In a press release, police said that detectives investigating the death have determined that Tolbert died as a result of a gunshot wound that he received at the Woodsmill Apartment Complex at 1 a.m. Aug. 2. Thomas J. Blandburg Jr., 26, of Jonesboro was previously arrested for reckless conduct in relation to discharging a firearm at that location. Blandburg has now additionally been charged with murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, in relation to the incident.

Police spokesperson Matt Myers said the department believe that one of the shots Blandburg fired was intentionally aimed at Tolbert, but the department is still investigating the motive.

Blandburg was also previously charged with aggravated assault in relation to a shooting incident at a white car in the Wynnmeade neighborhood on the same date at 4 a.m. as the murder. The motive for that shooting stems from a previous dispute, Myers said. Another victim of that same incident has been discovered, and an additional aggravated assault charge has been issued in regards to that incident.

An extensive investigation into the murder revealed reason to believe several other people, who knew each other, were present for the shooting, and aided or abetted in the crime. 

Detectives have issued the following charges accordingly:

Donnell Huggins, 20, of Wynnmeade Pkwy., is charged with murder (party to the crime), aggravated assault (party to the crime), and false statements, concealment of facts in matters within jurisdiction of state. Huggins is also Blandberg’s half-brother.

Jose Redden, 24, of Wynnmeade Pkwy., is charged with murder (party to the crime), aggravated assault (party to the crime), and false statements, concealment of facts in matters within jurisdiction of state.

Keila Brooks, 43, of Wynnmeade Pkwy., is charged with murder (party to the crime), aggravated assault (party to the crime). Brooks is also Blandberg’s mother.

Huggins and Redden are currently incarcerated at the Fayette County Jail. Brooks was arrested Monday afternoon.

During the investigation, detectives questioned numerous potential witnesses and were provided with false information. The following individuals, who were not directly involved with the shooting, were arrested and charged for interfering with the investigation:

Barbara Johnson, 57, of West Manor in Peachtree City, was arrested on Aug. 13 and charged with false statements, concealment of facts in matters within jurisdiction of state.

Cassandra Garcia, 28, of Jonesboro, was arrested on Aug. 13 and charged with false statements, concealment of facts in matters within jurisdiction of state.

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