JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A woman charged with murder in connection with a January shooting on I-220 was already facing a first-degree murder charge in Hinds County Circuit Court.
On Tuesday, Jackson Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Reynolds set bond at $1.25 million for 24-year-old Augena Funchess and remanded her over to the Hinds County grand jury.
She is facing charges of murder, drive-by shooting and recovery of stolen property.
Marcus Lamonte Guice has also been charged with murder in the shooting.
The charges stem from a Jan. 24 shooting in the Ridgewood Court Drive area that city prosecutors say began as an argument at the M-Bar Sports Grill.
Authorities say surveillance showed a woman in a black Range Rover getting into an interaction with two other individuals in a parking lot at the Ridgewood Court sports bar.
The incident occurred just before 3 a.m.
Video showed that as the first car left the M-Bar parking lot, the Range Rover followed, and a passenger in the Range Rover opened fire along Ridgewood Court.
Witnesses identified the shooter as Funchess, who also later admitted to firing the shots, authorities told the court.
Police found the victim, Kiana Singleton, 25, fatally wounded in the 2100 block of Wandering Way.
Funchess is currently being held at the Hinds County Detention Center.
Reynolds set the bond at $1 million for the murder charge and $250,000 for a related drive-by, both of which are felonies.
The driver, whose name was not immediately available, was given a no bond during his initial appearance Monday, prosecutors say.
As for Funchess, Reynolds had this to say: “Everyone knows there’s an explosion of gun violence in the city and I’ve made my commitment to respect that. If you come into my courtroom and there is overwhelming evidence that you shot someone in Jackson, Miss., you will suffer the consequences.”
Reynolds spoke to the rise in gun violence in the capital city and said he was doing his part to help address that. “(We want) people to face a deterrent,” he said.
As Funchess was led away, she was directed back to the podium to have bond set for various misdemeanor charges.
“I don’t give (an expletive),” she said. “Let me go.”
Funchess had to be calmed down by bailiffs and her court-appointed attorney.
The Ridgeland resident was currently out on bond in connection with a January 2019 murder in Clinton and for the charge of receiving stolen property in Madison County.
The Madison County charge dates back to 2017.
Funchess had pleaded guilty to that, but had failed to complete the application process to enter the district attorney’s pre-trial intervention program, court records show.
Her bond in that case was revoked in October after she failed to appear before the court in September.
Meanwhile, she had never gone to trial in her first murder case.
Clinton police were called to Thompson Drive on a Wednesday evening where there were reports of a person refusing to leave a home.
While arriving on the scene, a Clinton police officer heard what he believed to be a single gunshot coming from the home in question. Kiona Shena Morgan, 29, had been shot in the chest. She was transported to a local hospital by private vehicle where she would later die.
Clinton Municipal Judge Steven Boone denied bond on the charges, according to Clinton Communications Director Mark Jones.
“After several weeks in the county lock-up, her bond was reduced to $50,000 at the request of the public defender in order to move the case out of Clinton to the Hinds County Circuit Court more expeditiously,” he said.
On June 21, 2019, a Hinds County grand jury indicted Funchess on one count of first-degree murder, saying she “did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kill Kiona Morgan.”
A little more than a month later, on July 30, Senior Circuit Judge Tomie Green set Funchess’ bond on the charge at $50,000 and gave her a curfew of 10 p.m. She was already out on bond, according to a hand-written note at the bottom of the bond documents.
Funchess entered a not guilty plea on July 31.
The Clinton case has been continued four times since:
- On October 14, the case was continued until March 2020, with attorneys saying more time was needed to prepare and that Funchess’ actions were a “classic case of self-defense;”
- In February 2020, the case was continued until July 2020 on the grounds that it is a “serious case and more time is needed to evaluate. Also, the case is relatively new to both of us;”
- In July 2020, the case was continued until November, with the attorneys saying the “case is still relatively new and (the) autopsy report isn’t back yet, so more time is needed to resolve;”
- And, in November, the case was continued again on the grounds that “defense counsel (was) recently assigned to (the) case.”
In the final continuance order, no date was given for the case to again be picked up, except that it would be in the “next term.” It was later revealed that the case would go to trial in March. All orders were signed by Judge Green, as well as attorneys for the defendants and the state.
Green was not immediately available for comment.
The news comes a day after Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba blasted the criminal justice system in Hinds County at his weekly press conference.
“What we have is a collective failure in the judicial process, in which cases are not moving as swiftly as they can, and so people are confronted and mired with the same challenges they are dealing with time in and time out,” he said.
Lumumba could not be reached for additional comment.