Murder suspect was out on bond for armed robbery at time of shooting

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023

Demetrius Cormier, a 16-year-old charged in Monday night’s homicide, was out on bond for another violent crime when he and two others allegedly shot two 15-year-olds and killed 13-year-old Carleone Woodland.

In April 2022, Cormier, then 15, was named a suspect in an armed robbery in which a handgun was stolen from an individual. He evaded the Vicksburg Police Department for months, with VPD issuing a “be on the lookout” or BOLO alert for him on June 21.

Cormier wasn’t arrested for the armed robbery until July 26. During his initial appearance, Judge Angela Carpenter issued a bond of $75,000.

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He posted bond and awaited the January term of the Warren County Grand Jury, which recently adjourned, when he was formally indicted.

He wasn’t arraigned for the armed robbery until Thursday.

In the 10 months between the April 2022 armed robbery and his arraignment Thursday, Cormier was involved in another violent crime and arrested on two charges: first-degree murder and aggravated assault for the incident on Monday.

Ninth Circuit Judicial District Attorney Ricky Smith Jr. said Thursday following the arraignment that the reason Cormier was walking free for more than seven months before he was indicted and arraigned was a byproduct of investigations.

“The reason it took so long for him to go before the Grand Jury (April 2022 to January) was that the District Attorney’s office can’t move forward until a completed case file is presented to us,” Smith said. “And investigations can take a while before they are completed.”

Deputy Vicksburg Police Chief Mike Bryant seconded Smith’s assessment. Bryant said a contributing factor to the length of time between Cormier’s armed robbery arrest and his arraignment date was the depth of detail investigators put into a case file.

“Once (suspects) are arrested, then we can complete the case file on them,” Bryant said. “Sometimes investigations just take longer than others.”
Bryant also stated that more arrests are possible in the murder case, but no further information could be released at the time due to the investigation still being in its early stages.
Cormier, along with Koury Lawrence, 19, and Phillip Moore Jr., were all charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault stemming from Monday night’s shooting. Judge Penny Lawson gave the trio a bond of $3.5 million each. The arrests mark the first felony charges for Lawrence and Moore.