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M-Bar murder suspect let out of jail days before March shootout, court documents show

Donaldson mug shot.
Donaldson mug shot.(Hinds County Sheriff's Department)
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 12:39 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Court documents show a suspect wanted in connection with a March shootout at a North Jackson restaurant had been let out of jail only days earlier after he was arrested for failure to comply with drug court requirements.

Last week, Hinds County deputies arrested Johnnie Donaldson, 24, of Jackson, and charged him with murder in connection with a March 21 shooting at the M-Bar Sports Grill.

At the time, Donaldson was behind bars at the Raymond Detention Center for failure to comply with the conditions of Hinds County’s drug court diversion program.

In late April, a bench warrant was issued for Donaldson’s arrest in connection with that failure to comply and he was taken into custody in early May.

The warrant represented the third time a Hinds County circuit judge had ordered Donaldson’s arrest for drug court violations since he was sentenced on a felony possession charge in late 2019.

He was still in custody when deputies determined he was one of several suspects allegedly involved in the M-Bar shootout.

“We had a warrant issued for his arrest and he was in jail when we charged and arrested him,” said Cpt. Tyree Jones, with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. “He had some other things going on.”

In December 2019, Donaldson pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance enhanced by the possession of a handgun and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The sentence was suspended, and Donaldson was given five years of probation pending the successful completion of drug court.

The order was handed down by Circuit Judge Faye Peterson.

However, Donaldson never completed drug court, and bench warrants were issued for his arrest in July 2020, February 2021, and April 2021, according to the Mississippi Electronic Courts website.

All three warrants were issued by Circuit Judge Winston Kidd.

MEC records indicate Donaldson was not arrested on the July warrant and it was not clear when he was taken into custody after the February warrant was handed down.

Even after multiple failures to comply with drug court orders, Kidd released Donaldson from jail on March 8, 2021, days before the shootout in the M-Bar parking lot.

Under terms of the March 8 order, Donaldson was required to participate in an outpatient treatment program for drug abuse at the Alcohol Service Center, submit to drug testing and fulfill other requirements of drug court.

A new warrant for Donaldson was issued on April 28, again for failure to comply, and he was taken into custody on May 3.

A day later, on May 4, a bench warrant was issued for his alleged involvement in the M-Bar shootout.

In the early morning hours of March 21, several people opened fire in the parking lot of the Ridgewood Court Drive establishment. One person, Christopher Moncure, was killed. Moncure was believed to be an innocent bystander, deputies say.

So far, four people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the shooting: Deantay Duffie, Frederius Walsh, Robert Caston, and Donaldson.

Duffie was denied bond and Walsh was given a $150,000 bond by County Judge Johnnie McDaniels last week.

And on Monday, McDaniels denied bond for Caston and Donaldson.

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