Parents stunned as Alabama middle school principal is arrested for brutal, 11-year-old cold case murder

Parents stunned as Alabama middle school principal is arrested for brutal, 11-year-old cold case murder
Parents stunned as Alabama middle school principal is arrested for brutal, 11-year-old cold case murder
  • Keante Harris, an assistant principal at McAdory Middle, was cuffed Wednesday
  • His arrest stemmed from the January 2013 murders of two men and a woman
  • The three were lured to a home and tortured by Harris and others, cops said

An Alabama middle school principal has been arrested and charged in the cold-case deaths of three people that occurred more than a decade ago.

Keante Harris, an assistant principal at McAdory Middle School, surrendered to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, on a fugitive of justice warrant.

His arrest stemmed from the January 2013 murders of Cheryl Colquitt-Thompson, Quinones King, and Rodney Cottrell, a trio of Alabama residents found dead in Clayton County, Georgia.

The three were lured to a home, forced inside by gunpoint, and tortured by Harris and three other accomplices, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release – adding that the three other suspects have been arrested as well.

Identified as Kenneth Thompson, Kevin Harris and Darrell Harris. They were all arrested across three states, the sheriff’s office said.

Keante Harris, an assistant principal at McAdory Middle School, surrendered to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, on a fugitive of justice warrant

‘On January 13, 2013, Union City Police Department was on general patrol in the area of ​​Interstate I-85 (Fulton County) when they observed a 2010 Dodge Charger that appeared to be abandoned,’ officers wrote of how they handled the 11- year-old case.

‘Upon further inspection, Union City Officers located (3) deceased bodies in the vehicle.

‘It was determined through the investigation that all three victims were tortured and murdered in Clayton County and dumped in Fulton County.

‘The victims were lured to a residence on Magnolia Drive in Jonesboro where they were forced into the residence at gunpoint,’ the update, issued Friday, continued.

‘Later, they were loaded into the back seat of a Dodge Charger and taken to Fulton County.’

The bulletin goes on to state how Chief Kevin Robert, the head of Clayton County Police Department, and his team were able to crack the case, before providing the Clayton County DA with the information necessary for the four murder indictments.

The county prosecutors proceeded to provide the Sheriff’s Office with 12 murder warrants – three for Harris, and a three a piece for the other suspects.

Despite the update, it remains unclear if the suspects – several of whom have the same surname – are related.

Cheryl Colquitt-Thompson was found dead along with two men in 2013
The victims were lured to a residence on Magnolia Drive in Jonesboro where they were forced into the residence at gunpoint. The second victim was Quinones King (pictured)
Later, they were loaded into the back seat of a Dodge Charger and taken to Fulton County. The third victim was Rodney Cottrell (pictured)

‘Upon receipt of this information, Sheriff Levon Allen immediately activated his ‘Elite Fugitive Unit’ to locate and apprehend all four of the outstanding suspects,’ cops wrote – culminating in the quartet’s arrest.

Allen added: ‘I’m pleased to announce today that through hard work and diligent investigations, within 48 hours all four Murder Suspects were taken into custody across three states, without incident.

The top cop went on to thank the department’s ‘Law Enforcement partners locally and abroad,’ who he credited with ‘[coming] together to bring these suspects to justice.’

Each is charged with three counts of Malice Murder for the triple homicide case in Union City, Georgia, that happened on January 13, 2013.

Harris is one of two assistant principals at the middle school in McCalla, which has about 929 students

It began when the three victims – all residents of Montgomery – were found in a silver Dodge Charger off I-85 in Fulton County.

Two of the victims died of asphyxiation, while the third was found strangled in the trunk of the car, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed this week to Fox 5.

The victims were believed to have been killed at a residence in Clayton County, before being left abandoned in the vehicle.

In a verbal statement to WSFA 12, Tony Garrett with Central Alabama CrimeStoppers described he still remembers the pain of the victims’ families felt that day.

‘This case actually helped me grow as a CrimeStoppers director because I was able to start off feeling what the family felt, not really, but being able to go through their emotions,’ he said.

‘We’re still offering the reward for this case, so we are waiting for them to get back with us to see if they had a tipster or if they had information come in to solve the case,’ he added.

Cops said they are in contact with the victims’ families, who said they will speak out when they are ready

The case was approached with the same urgency as other, more current cases, he said, citing advances in DNA and other technology for the not-so-quick arrests.

‘We are seeing DNA investigations, agencies combining more resources. ‘We are seeing that is a better solution or a better way to investigate so we are seeing technology catch up and we are seeing better communication,’ he said.

Cops added that they were in contact with the victims’ families, who said they will speak out when they are ready. They were seen attending a Central Alabama crime stoppers event Monday celebrating the arrests, but did not speak to the media.

Harris, meanwhile, is one of the assistant principals at the middle school in McCalla, which has about 929 students.

The three victims – all residents of Montgomery – were found in a silver Dodge Charger off I-85 in Fulton County (crime scene pictured)

A Jefferson County Schools spokesperson referred all questions about the case to the sheriff’s office, revealing that Harris – seen posing in a police mug shot – has been placed on administrative leave.

‘We have been made aware that Mr. Keante Harris was arrested Wednesday afternoon,’ Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said in a statement Monday.

‘At this time we are still gathering facts about the specifics of this situation. However, early indications are that the charges are not related to this individual’s employment with Jefferson County Schools.

‘Per standard procedure, Mr. Harris has been placed on paid administrative leave. As more facts become available, we will act according to our district’s policy.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office for comment.

 
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