Gardner to stand trial in January

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A Marianna man is scheduled to stand trial in Holmes County on charges of homicide, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, shooting into a vehicle and discharging a firearm in public.

Latorish Antonio Gardner, 48, shot and killed Derek Todd Thompson, 35, and shot and critically wounded 29-year-old Mariah Maps of Pensacola on May 2, 2021.

Maps and Gardner have children together and were meeting to conduct a child exchange as was usual for them at the Ponce de Leon rest area on Interstate 10. During the exchange, Maps and Gardner became involved in a physical altercation leading Thompson to intervene and direct Maps to get in their vehicle.

Gardner and Thompson then became involved in an altercation during which Gardner fatally shot Thompson in the chest. Gardner then began to chase Maps through the parking lot. As Maps attempted to hide in a bystander's vehicle, she was struck by a bullet which passed through her and into the vehicle. Gardner then gathered the children and fled the area.

Holmes County Sheriff’s Office deputies were able to communicate on scene with Maps who identified Gardner as the shooter and provide critical information to the investigation.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office converged on Gardner’s home less than an hour later and took him into custody without incident.

Gardner is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 18 with jury selection and trial to begin at 9 a.m. on Jan. 23 at the Holmes County Courthouse with Circuit Judge Russell Roberts presiding.

Latorish Gardner, Mariah Maps, Derek Todd Thompson, homicide, trial, Ponce de Leon

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