Fayette County

Three charged with murder in shooting of pregnant woman, her unborn child

Three men have been charged with murder, fetal homicide and robbery in connection with the September shooting death of 22-year-old Maryiah Coleman and her unborn child, Lexington police said Tuesday.

Police charged Demetrioun L. Boaz, Joseph “Jodie” Fain, and Saquan Freeman, all age 20, in the case. All three are in police custody and face charges of first-degree murder, first-degree fetal homicide and first-degree robbery. Police said they are also “looking into” a fourth person.

Lt. Albert Johnson, one of the investigators on Coleman’s case, explained at a news conference Tuesday afternoon how numerous interviews with people from the Winburn Drive community and witnesses to the shooting helped corroborate evidence found at the scene. Johnson did not elaborate on how many people witnessed the shooting.

All three men were meeting an acquaintance in Winburn on Sept. 7 “with the intent to rob him,” Johnson said.

“During the course of that robbery, the person they were robbing attempted to escape, and at that point, shots were fired,” Johnson said. “One of those shots was the cause of Maryiah Coleman’s death.”

Johnson would not discuss which man shot Coleman.

Johnson added that all three men knew that Coleman, who was walking her dog on Winburn Drive, had been shot. She was eight months pregnant, and her unborn son, Jakobe, did not survive the shooting. Earlier Sept. 7, Maryiah had been to the doctor and had seen her son in an ultrasound, family members said.

“There’s been a lot of labor, a lot of overtime, that has gone into attempting to find leads and attempting to speak with people who have knowledge,” Johnson said. “We have certain resources at our disposal, technology-wise, that we’ve utilized, that have been beneficial. But most of it is legwork: going out, knocking on doors, talking to people, trying to gain cooperation from the public, just doing old-fashioned police work.”

According to police, all three men are at the Fayette County Detention Center and were previously charged in connection with an Oct. 20 home invasion and robbery on Red Mile Road. The robbery at a townhome in the 900 block of Red Mile Road was narcotics-related, police said in a news release. Freeman was shot by the homeowner and paralyzed during the invasion, said police spokeswoman Brenna Angel.

The killing of Coleman and her son resulted in two vigils last fall; one in Winburn and one outside the Fayette County Circuit Courthouse. There were 24 murders in Lexington in 2016, with the average age of each victim also being 24. The 24 murders were the most since 2001 and marked a 50 percent increase from 2015.

Police said they believe other people may be involved in the shooting, and this investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact police at (859) 258-3600.

Hundreds of people come together to call for justice in the death of a 22-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant.

Fernando Alfonso III: 859-231-1324, @fernalfonso