Columbus man accused of killing women in front of child attacked officer while jailed

Quartez Tremon “Trey” Thomas stands accused of gunning down his estranged girlfriend in front of her 6-year-old daughter, outside a Family Dollar store, and killing the woman’s friend who was driving the car they were in.

But that’s not why he stood before a Columbus judge Friday.

Thomas, 28, faced multiple charges for causing trouble at the Muscogee County Jail, after his arrest in the fatal shootings of Kiera Williams and Jasmine Trice outside the 2112 Floyd Road store on March 1, 2021.

With his murder case still pending, Thomas in the intervening years was indicted on these additional charges:

  • Aggravated assault on a peace officer, alleging he attacked Officer Darrell Peebles by putting him in a “rear choke hold” that was “likely to cause strangulation” on May 16, 2021.

  • Unlawful acts of violence in a penal institution, alleging that on the same day, he attacked and wrestled with the officer on the floor.

  • Interference with government property, alleging he also damaged a jail window with a fire extinguisher that day.

  • Interference with government property for damaging the fire extinguisher.

  • Attempting to commit a felony, alleging he tried to escape by breaking out a jail window with the fire extinguisher.

  • Theft by taking, alleging he stole the fire extinguisher that belonged to the sheriff’s office.

  • Aggravated assault on a peace officer, alleging he slashed Officer Marcus James’ elbow with hair clippers on Jan. 11, 2022.

  • Interference with government property, alleging he damaged a jail Plexiglass door on Nov. 19, 2022.

  • Simple battery, a misdemeanor, alleging he threw an unknown liquid he claimed was urine on Cpl. Corey Culberson on Feb. 12, 2023.

  • Second-degree criminal damage to property, alleging he grabbed the cuff of a blood-pressure gauge, yanked it into his cell and threw the cuff and cord back out.

Thomas eventually was moved to another jail, authorities said, but was brought back to Muscogee County for Friday’s plea deal.

He pleaded to three counts of interfering with government property and one count each of assaulting an officer, criminal damage, and attempting a felony. His prosecutor Friday was Assistant District Attorney Ashley Bell. The defense attorney was Shirlise Rivera.

Judge Maureen Gottfried sentenced him to 15 years in prison with five to serve and the rest on probation, and ordered him to pay the jail $2,200 for damages.

Thomas will be held in a state prison as he awaits trial in the murder case.

The murder case

During Thomas’ 2021 preliminary hearing in the double-homicide, investigators said he had been stalking Williams, sending threatening text messages and repeatedly going by the Buxton Drive home where she stayed with her parents.

The night before the women were killed, he fired multiple shots at the house, where four people inside dropped to the floor to dodge the bullets, police said.

His cell phone signals the next day showed he followed Williams from Buxton Drive to Trice’s home on Doyle Avenue before tracking the two women to the Family Dollar, where a 911 call reporting the shooting came in at 4:04 p.m., said Detective Sherman Hayes.

Thomas was driving a 2012 Kia Sorento that had been carjacked Feb. 28, 2021 outside a Phenix City Pizza Hut, police said. Trice, 30, was driving a 2008 Nissan Altima with Williams, 28, in the front passenger seat and the little girl behind her.

Store video showed a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle pull up behind Trice’s Nissan before a man hiding his face got out and shot into the passenger’s side window, Hayes said. With the two women mortally wounded, the child got out of the car, and witnesses took her into the store.

“Trey shot my Mommy,” the girl told patrol officers called to the shooting

Thomas fled to Phenix City, where he was captured that night in a room at the Colonial Inn on the 280 Bypass.

Death penalty dropped

Thomas under a previous district attorney was facing the death penalty, so he was assigned a defense attorney from the state capital defender’s office, where Rivera works.

Then-DA Mark Jones in March 2021 said the circumstances warranted a sentence of death, but acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry rescinded that after Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Jones the following October.

Still Thomas kept his capital defenders in the murder case. His prosecution now is assigned to Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Schwartz, who said Thomas will have to be re-indicted because of flaws in his May 2021 indictment.

That indictment had these charges in the double homicide:

  • Two counts of malice or deliberate murder

  • Two counts of felony murder for killing in the commission of another felony.

  • Two counts of aggravated assault.

  • Two counts of using a gun to commit felonies.

  • One count of first-degree cruelty to children.

  • One count of third-degree cruelty to children, a misdemeanor.

If convicted of murder, with his felony record, Thomas faces life in prison without parole.

Quartez Tremon Thomas, 25,center, had a hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court Tuesday morning in Columbus, Georgia. Thomas is accused of shooting Jasmine Trice, 30, and Kiera Williams, 28, around 4 p.m. March 1 at the 2112 Floyd Road store. Thomas had been set to have a preliminary hearing March 5, but it was postponed when District Attorney Mark Jones said he would seek the death penalty in the double slaying, because Thomas needed an attorney from the state Office of the Capital Defender.