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UPDATE: Second arrest made in connection to Jan. 2 homicide

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | 4:19 p.m. CST; updated 3:58 p.m. CST, Saturday, March 8, 2014

*CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the correct date of the shooting. An earlier version misstated the date.

**CORRECTION: Jimiah A. Lambert is the third suspect who was sought in connection with the murder of Dontay Tolston. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled his name.

COLUMBIA — Police have arrested a second suspect in connection to the murder of Dontay Tolston, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Columbia Police Department.

The New Orleans Police Department arrested Derrick Copelin, 17, after Columbia police filed a warrant for his arrest. Bond was set at $1,000,000.

Columbia police are still looking for a third suspect in connection with Tolston’s murder, Jimiah A. Lambert*, 20, of Columbia. They believe he has left the area.

Columbia police arrested Martrell Terrell Smith, of Columbia, on suspicion of second-degree murder on Tuesday. He was being held in the Boone County Jail on a cash bail of $1 million, according to an earlier police news release and jail records.

Tolston was found by police at a residence in the 2000 block of Newton Drive in north Columbia with a gunshot wound around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday. He was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

According to the probable cause statement issued for Smith, Smith told police he arranged a drug deal between Tolston and Lambert and Copelin. He then drove Lambert and Copelin to Tolston’s apartment, and all three men went inside. An examination of Tolston's cellphone helped police determine that the last six calls made to and from his phone were from Smith's number.

After Lambert bought some marijuana from Tolston, Smith told police that Lambert pulled a gun out of his pants, prompting Tolston to also draw a gun, according to the probable cause statement. Hearing shots, Smith said, he ran out of the residence and to his car with Lambert and Copelin.

The probable cause statement does not say why the men began firing.

Smith pleaded guilty in 2013 to unrelated felony charges of stealing a credit card and forgery and was sentenced to five years supervised probation, according to online court records. Smith has also pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanors, court records show.

Police said the investigation was still active and ongoing and would release further details as appropriate, according to the earlier press release.


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