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Charges advance in King George slaying

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

Gregory Gaines Jr. testified Wednesday that he wasn’t worried when a car showed up at his aunt’s home in King George County April 29 for what he thought was a routine marijuana deal.

But moments later, Gaines and his 20-year-old first cousin, Ronelle Davon Johnson, were on their knees bound with duct tape. Both were then shot multiple times. Johnson was killed.

Two of the three people charged in the double shooting, Tennase Michel Shanks, 42, of King George and Anthony William Goodman, 30, of Upper Marlboro, Md., had a joint preliminary hearing Wednesday in King George General District.

Judge V. James Ventura sent charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and two firearms offenses against both defendants to a grand jury after hearing testimony from two witnesses, including Gaines.

The third person charged, Michael Andre Clinton, 28, of Bladensburg, Md., is being held on robbery and other charges in Prince George’s County, Md., and doesn’t yet have a hearing date in King George.

Wednesday’s hearing was relatively calm until it was over. At that point, several people who had witnessed the hearing exploded and began shouting expletives.

One woman pointed at Goodman, who is the father of Shank’s young daughter, and cursed him for what she said he’d done to Shanks and her family.

Another man had to be restrained from going after a man who shouted obscenities at him.

Bailiffs managed to get the two groups out of the courtroom and kept them separated until the parking lot was cleared. 

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Josh Boyles, Johnson had sold $20 worth of marijuana to Goodman a few days before the shooting.

Gaines said that when Goodman showed up at Winston Place near Comorn, he walked over to the car at Johnson’s request and handed him some marijuana.

He testified there was a discussion about the weight of the marijuana, so the drugs were weighed on a scale provided by Johnson.

All of a sudden, Gaines said, a man later identified as Clinton got out of the back seat with a gun pointed at him and Johnson.

Gaines, 20, said he responded, “What the [expletive]” and the gunman told him to “get the [expletive] on the ground.”

Meanwhile, he said, Johnson and Goodman were in a fist fight that ended with Clinton hitting Johnson in the head from behind with the gun.

After being tied up, Gaines said Clinton shot him in the collarbone and the face, and he said Goodman shot and killed Johnson. Gaines said he also had his cellphone and money taken from his pocket. Clinton and Goodman are reportedly members of the criminal street gang the Bloods.

Shanks stayed in the car the entire time and drove off with the other two suspects once the shooting was done, according to the evidence.

King George Detective Monty Clift interviewed Shanks a few days later. He said Shanks told him she had purchased a gun the day before the shooting, but as far as she knew it was still in her glove compartment. That gun has been sent to the state lab for testing.

Clift said Shanks claimed she didn’t know Goodman and Clinton had guns or were going to a drug deal. She said she drove to Winston Place because Goodman asked her to.

Defense attorneys Alexander Raymond (Shanks) and Benjamin Burchett (Goodman) asked Ventura not to certify the charges, saying the evidence was insufficient. Ventura disagreed.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404