Lexington detective says murder suspect confessed to shooting teen

gkocher1@herald-leader.comOctober 5, 2012 

The man charged with murder in the death of a Lexington teen confessed to the shooting, police said during a court hearing Friday.

A judge sent the case against Malik Shabazz Johnson, 20, to a Fayette County grand jury after a preliminary hearing Friday. Johnson has pleaded not guilty in the Sept. 25 shooting death of Jaleel Raglin, 16, at the Matador North apartment complex across the street from Winburn Middle School.

Lexington police Detective Timothy Upchurch testified that Johnson confessed to shooting Raglin, but Johnson's attorney indicated that Johnson fired in self-defense.

An unidentified witness saw Johnson enter the apartment, heard shots fired and saw Johnson leave the apartment, Upchurch said.

Police interviewed Johnson at headquarters, and "he admitted to shooting the victim multiple times," Upchurch said.

Under cross-examination from defense attorney Robert Friedman, Upchurch said Raglin was shot three times.

Johnson had gone to the apartment to confront Raglin because Johnson had felt threatened, Upchurch said. Raglin took a swing at Johnson, and Johnson shot, Upchurch said.

So, "he merely admitted he shot a man" in self-defense, Friedman said.

Friedman asked Upchurch for the identity of the witness. But Judge Julie Goodman said if the case is passed to the grand jury, "it will be because the defendant confessed, not because of a phantom witness."

Da'Jure Jones, 16, the mother of Raglin's son, told the Herald-Leader after the shooting that Raglin had come by her apartment to visit the baby.

Jones told the paper that there had been bad blood between Johnson and Raglin.

In answer to another question from Friedman, Upchurch said police have not recovered the gun used in the shooting.

Johnson told police he discarded the weapon in a field near Martin Luther King Park, Upchurch said. Police searched the field twice but did not find a gun, he said.

Goodman found probable cause to send the case to a grand jury. Johnson has remained in jail without bond since his arrest a few hours after the shooting. Goodman set his bond at $500,000 cash.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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