Woman to stand trial in O’Reilly store slaying
The 23-year-old Detroit woman accused of fatally shooting a manager at an O’Reilly auto parts store on Detroit’s northwest side was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges of felony murder.
Another manager at the store on Schaefer near Six Mile testified during a preliminary hearing that she is “100 percent sure” Shawnta Anderson was the person who shot 69-year-old James Haller Jr. to death during a robbery at the store Nov. 1.
The manager, who didn’t want to be identified during the preliminary examination Wednesday in 36th District Court, said Anderson and another woman, whom authorities have identified as Eboni McEwen-Ross, came into the store and demanded cash and told the manager and another store employee to open the register and give them cash.
The manager said she believes Anderson was the woman because Anderson held a gun to her head and she remembers her face. Anderson’s defense attorney asked the manager why she could not identify Anderson in police photos.
The other woman, believed to be McEwen-Ross, ran from the store as well. The two allegedly jumped into a truck.
Also testifying Wednesday was Ruby Williams, the grandmother of Anderson’s co-defendant Leviticus Butler. She told the judge Anderson came to her with her grandson a few nights after the O’Reilly incident and told the woman she committed the robbery and shot Haller.
“She let me know she had shot the man,” said Williams.
Williams said Anderson told her nervously, “‘I’m the one that robbed (O’Reilly)’ and she said ‘I’m the one that shot the man but I wasn’t intending to ’cause I didn’t know he was shot until the next day.’”
Anderson was arrested Nov. 6 at Williams’ home on Colfax Street in Detroit.
Butler was charged with accessory after the fact and has pleaded guilty. He faces sentencing March 7.
Anderson’s attorney, Robert Kinney, said the charges against Anderson should be dismissed because the manager didn’t definitively identify his client as the shooter.
But Judge Kenneth King reminded Kinney that the manager said in court Wednesday that she was “100 percent sure” that Anderson shot Haller. The manager said she heard the shot and saw Haller on the ground. Under cross-examination, she said she didn’t see Anderson fire the gun but heard the shot and identified Anderson as the woman who held a gun to her head during the robbery.
Surveillance video of the robbery showing the shooting of Haller was shown in court Wednesday. Haller’s widow, who attended the preliminary examination, left the courtroom with a relative when the video was shown.
Anderson is due back in court Feb. 14 for an arraignment on information.