MAGNOLIA, Del.- Delaware State Police homicide detectives on Monday arrested a suspect in connection with a murder that occurred in Magnolia back in 2009.
Jermaine M. Zachary, 21, of Dover, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy.
Police said that in July, detectives reopened their investigation into a homicide that occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2009, outside a home on the 100 block of Jeffrey Drive, London Village in Magnolia.
Authorities said the victim, Robert W. Watkins, 40, of Seaford, was the front seat passenger in a vehicle parked at the home on Jeffrey Drive. According to police, Watkins and a female driver of the vehicle came to the house because they had previously made arrangements to purchase a dog at that location. Troopers said Watkins and the driver made contact with one person who got in the back seat of their vehicle while an unknown male stood outside the passenger's side window.
Troopers said that while discussing the price for the dog, the unknown man pulled out a handgun and demanded money from Watkins. Investigators said when Watkins and the driver tried to drive away, the man then fired a shot, which struck the victim.
"To know that somebody would shoot somebody over a dog? that's just terrible," said Heather Walker, of Magnolia.
According to police, the person in the rear of the vehicle, who was identified as Zachary, jumped out and ran away. The driver called 911 as she drove away from the scene. She was directed to the local Shore Stop, where they were met by EMS. Watkins was transported to Christiana Hospital via helicopter where he later died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Neighbors in the area say they remember vividly what happened that day.
"Somebody got killed right on the street. It's scary. How do you cope with something like that," said Walker.
State Police say text messages between Watkins and Zachary helped lead to an arrest.
"There's reasons to believe that there may have possibly been a drug transaction," said Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police.
Neighbors in the area agree.
One man who lives in the neighborhood did not want to be identified.
"You just get the wrong element that moves into you neighborhood. One bad egg can make things go wrong," he said.
Cpl. Fournier says investigators wanted to make sure all information linking Zachary and Watkins was accurate before moving forward with an arrest.
"If we go to trial on something and we don't have all the necessary probable cause, then there's a chance that we could lose that case," said Fournier.
Investigators are still searching for the shooter in this case.
He is described as a black man, standing between six foot and six foot three inches tall and weighing about 180 to 200 pounds with a muscular build.
Zachary was picked up Monday afternoon when he reported to his probation officer in Dover. He was transported back to Troop 3 and booked on the aforementioned charges. He was ordered held in the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center on $302,000 cash-only bond.
Anyone with additional information about this incident or information on the second suspect is asked to contact Detective Ryde at (302) 741-2730 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333. Information may also be provided via www.tipsubmit.com.
Send an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."
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