Mobile detective: Bank Nightlife victim killed in mistaken identity murder-for-hire

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 8:28 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A man targeting a pair of rivals engineered separate nightclub shootings, one of which resulted in the death of an innocent man in a case of mistaken identity, police detectives testified Wednesday.

After hearing the evidence, Mobile County District Judge George Zoghby granted the prosecution’s request to deny bail to John Fitzgerald McCarroll Jr. under Aniah’s Law.

Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood praised the ruling.

“The ruling today shows that Aniah’s Law is working - by locking up violent accused offenders who serve as a threat to our citizens until their trial,” he said in a statement.

McCarroll, 29, 0f Mobile, stands charged with murder in the death of Derrick Shavers at the Bank Nightlife on Azalea Road on Sept. 18 and four counts of first-degree assault in a Nov. 26 shooting at the Paparazzi Lounge on Dauphin Street that left four people wounded – including a woman who now is paralyzed from a gunshot to the neck.

Police do not accuse McCarroll of firing a weapon in either case, but they allege he aided and abetting both of them.

Detective Kenyada Taylor testified that the investigation into the Bank Nightlife shooting indicates that McCarroll was trying to put a hit on a man and offered money to co-defendant Reginald Fluker but that Fluker did not receive the full amount because he shot the wrong person.

Much of the information in the case came from a witness whom the detective declined to identify. That witness told police he was in the club on the night of the shooting and saw McCarroll hand Fluker a gun. The witness said he left before the shooting, Taylor testified.

The detective testified that Fluker, 23, of Mobile, later confessed to the shooting and said he fired four or five times, believing Shavers to be the intended target. She testified that Fluker considered himself McCarroll’s “bodyguard.”

Taylor testified that the witness told investigators that McCarroll and the intended target both have been trying to kill each other for months and that each man has a friend who has been killed.

Fluker told investigators that McCarroll and two others were supposed to pay him $20,000 for the hit, Taylor testified. But he received only $100 or $2,300, according to conflicting statements by witnesses, Taylor said.

The anonymous witness quoted McCaroll saying, “I can’t be mad at him (Fluker). At least he’s trying for me.”

Taylor testified that McCaroll, after his arrest last week, denied being at the club. But she said he told police that the man investigators believe was the intended target was going to get “karma” on the streets.

Defense attorney Tom Walsh objected to allowing the detective to withhold the identity of the witness. He told FOX10 News that the witness is “sitting in federal custody awaiting to be sentenced on something and he has an incentive to testify against people and an incentive to testify falsely against people, because he can get a sentence cut in half or reduced even further than that.”

But Taylor testified that the information the witness offered has been corroborated by others, including Fluker.

Taylor testified that a bounty hunter looking for Fluker discovered that he had passed a gun to his grandmother. She testified that the bounty hunter photographed the gun and then reported it to the Mobile Police Department but than an officer did not come to get it.

Taylor testified that the grandmother put it a plastic bag and told police that a young man came and took it. Video from the woman’s Ring camera suggests that man was McCaroll, according to the detective.

Taylor also testified about a recorded phone call at Mobile County Metro Jail between McCarroll and his girlfriend.

“He directed her to get rid of the gun before Kiki finds it,” she said in a reference to her own nickname.

Taylor testified that she got a search warrant for the woman’s home in Baldwin County and found gun magazines and ammunition but not the murder weapon. She said officers also seized McCaroll’s cell phone.

Cpl. Jermaine Rogers, who investigated the Paparazzi shooting, offered evidence about that part of the case. He testified that McCarroll wanted to a kill another man – not the same target as the Bank Nightlife shooting. He said the defendant’s cell phone contained messages to Fluker that the detective interpreted as trying to recruit him to shooting.

Walsh dismissed that as “hearsay and speculation.”

Rogers testified that surveillance video shows McCarroll “gave the eye” to co-defendant Darrius Dewayne Rowser when a man walked past them. A second anonymous witness told investigators that Rowser “gets paid to do shootings by McCarroll,” Rogers said.

The detective testified that Rowser fired and missed his intended target but hit four innocent people in a club packed with people who had come from a LeFlore High School reunion earlier in the evening.

Rogers testified that surveillance video shows Rowser, McCarroll and a woman leaving the club together and then running to McCarroll’s 2000 Toyota Corolla.

Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Coy Morgan said McCarroll poses a danger to the community, demonstrated by his willingness “to not only kill rivals but to do it in places crowded with people.”

Morgan said it does not matter that McCarroll did not actually fire a gun in either case.

“Charles Manson didn’t kill anybody. Hitler didn’t kill anybody,” he said. “There’s a lot of blood that’s been spilled at the hands of Mr. McCarroll.”

Walsh cited examples of murder defendants who have been acquitted in Mobile County after spending years in jail, including Myles Amari Caples last month.

“In our country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment allowing for Aniah’s Law, which gives judges more discretion to detain people accused of a wide range of violent offenses. But Walsh said it deprives citizens of the right to bail at a stage when investigators still are gathering much of the evidence.

“The people within tis state continually say they want limited government, and every chance they get, they vote to give the government more power,” he said.