A Georgia man wanted for hitting and killing a special needs man on the Fourth of July has been captured in New York, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.
Joshua Anderson, 27, is accused of beating, then running over 20-year-old Kevin Marshall with his truck following a dispute at an Independence Day celebration in Covington, Georgia. Marshall, an autistic Black man, was walking home when he was struck at nearly 100 mph, witnesses said.
He died upon impact.
Authorities arrested Anderson in upstate New York early Tuesday after a wide-ranging search by multiple law enforcement agencies. The suspect now faces charges of malice murder, aggravated assault and failure to stop at the scene of the collision that killed Marshall.
“We would like to thank all of the citizens who provided anonymous tips, various concerns as it related to this crime,” Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown said at a press conference. “I would like to thank law enforcement locally and abroad, especially the U.S. Marshals, in their outstanding work and performance in the apprehension of suspect Joshua Anderson.”
The deadly incident unfolded on July 4 at the home of Anderson’s girlfriend, where witnesses said Anderson flew into a jealous rage after Marshall, 20, talked to his sweetheart, CBS 46 reported. A fistfight ensued.
Partygoers managed to break up the scuffle. As Marshall walked home, however, Anderson reportedly hopped in his Toyota pickup truck, sped down the road and struck the young man. He then fled the scene.
“He wasn’t doing anything! He was on his way home,” Marshall’s mother, Robbie Marshall, told WSB-TV of her son. “He was such a sweet boy. He wouldn’t harm nobody.”
Marshall said her son had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old and also suffered from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“That’s hatred, to beat somebody and then run him over at that impact and keep going,” she added.
Anderson fled in a gray 2001 Toyota Tacoma and was later seen driving a 2005 Toyota Highlander, The Covington News reported. The Tacoma was found abandoned in a wooded area near the suspect’s home, not far from the scene of the crime.
The case took an unexpected turn after Anderson’s girlfriend, Kendra Browning, was reported missing and believed to be accompanying Anderson in his run from the law. On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office confirmed Browning was with Anderson in New York.
So far, Anderson is the only one charged in the incident. It’s still unclear what role, if any, Browning played in Anderson’s escape, but authorities assured the public that all parties involved would be held accountable.
The racial nature of the case (Anderson is white, Marshall was Black) has also left many, including Marshall’s mother, to wonder whether the incident should be considered a hate crime. NCSO Deputy Michael Gregg has denied the crime was racially motivated, and local Rev. Eric Lee on Tuesday urged the Newton County community to remain patient and not rush to judgment while police investigate.
“Please exercise some level of patience and some level of emotional maturity as we seek to understand what happened on that day,” Lee said. “We’re going to leave it up to our officials to determine if this is a hate crime.”
The slain man’s mother also spoke at Tuesday’s news conference, where she vowed to keep fighting for justice for her son.
“It’s imperative that justice be served to Joshua and all parties involved to the highest extent for taking my son’s life,” Robbie Marshall said from the podium. “I will not rest until Joshua Anderson and all his accessory parties are punished for what they’ve done to my son.”
Anderson will be extradited to Georgia to face charges, the sheriff’s office said.