Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Update on Murder'

Suicide leads to homicide being cleared
Police: Rodney L. Terrell shoots girlfriend, later self.
By Loresha Wilson and Kelsey McKinney • The Times • April 23, 2010

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Twitter FarkIt Type Size A A A The discovery Thursday night of a man who fatally shot himself in the head led to him being exceptionally cleared as the shooter in the homicide of his ex-girlfriend that morning, according to Shreveport police.

About 5 a.m., Rodney L. Terrell, 29, fired at least three shots through Sherika Pratt's front door about 5 a.m., killing her but leaving her two children, ages 1 and 3, unharmed, police said. Neighbors reportedly heard the gunshots and then loud screaming.
"Oh, no — my baby, my baby," Beverly Pratt said as she watched her daughter being put into the coroner's van at the Coventry Apartments, located in the 4500 block of North Market Street. "Lord, please help me, please. They killed my child. Why did they kill her?"
Beverly Pratt immediately believed Terrell, who is the father of her youngest grandchild, was responsible.
Hours after the shooting, Terrell was named as the key suspect and that evening, as police searched for him on a charge of second-degree murder, a citizen reported finding a man slumped over in the driver's seat of a blue Cadillac parked outside the Plantation Inn in the 4900 block of Greenwood Road.
Police determined it was Terrell and are calling his death a suicide. Crime scene investigators matched the shoes he was wearing to shoe prints discovered at the crime scene at the Coventry Place Apartments, according to a Police Department news release.
Just two weeks prior, Terrell broke into the apartment and waited for Sherika Pratt to return home, Beverly Pratt said.
"He broke in through the back window, and when she came home, he beat her and cut up her furniture and the kids' mattresses. She had stitches and bruises from that. Police should have got him then."
Jim Taliaferro, police spokesman, said Terrell was the subject of "several previous reports of battery on the victim" and that he had two active warrants through the Police Department that involve Sherika Pratt.
"Sherika was one of the kindest, sweetest people you ever want to meet," Albert Gober said of his daughter. "She was getting her life together. She worked hard, took care of her kids and visited her parents. She seemed to be on the right track."
Now, her two children, one of whom has no living parent, are staying with their grandparents.
Sherika Pratt is Shreveport's 11th homicide victim this year.

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