An Evansville man suspected of fatally shooting his former girlfriend is in custody in Georgia after turning himself in Wednesday afternoon at a police station near Atlanta.
Joaquin Starks, 25, was wanted in connection with the death of Ida T. Jefferson, who was shot multiple times early Friday morning outside her residence at Ross Center Apartments in Evansville.
Officials immediately identified Starks as a suspect. He has a history of violence against Jefferson, and was identified as the shooter by a woman with whom Jefferson was living who said she witnessed the attack.
But efforts to locate him since Friday had proved unsuccessful.
He remained at large until Wednesday afternoon, when he walked into the Sandy Springs, Ga., police station and told officers he was wanted for questioning for a domestic violence incident, Evansville Police Department Chief Brad Hill said.
It wasn't long before police there entered his information and realized he was wanted for Jefferson's death.
Hill said police should know by today if Starks will waive extradition from Georgia back to Evansville. Otherwise, he said authorities will have to initiate a lengthier legal process to return him to the state.
Hill said Starks had been following the case online and turned himself in after receiving encouragement to do so from family members and an acquaintance who he had stayed with briefly in Georgia.
But Hill said Starks had not said much about the case and declined to speak about it with investigators who tried to question him in Georgia.
"I don't think he's made any admissions down there at this time," Hill said.
Starks was brought to the police station shortly before 2 p.m. by the acquaintance, who Hill did not identify.
It was still unclear Wednesday how long he had been in Georgia or how he had traveled there, Hill said.
According to an Evansville police affidavit, Jefferson was killed while she was living temporarily with Tammy Funches at Ross Center Apartments because of difficulties with Starks.
Starks was convicted in 2004 for an incident involving Jefferson and was out on bond for a Feb. 6 incident for which he was charged with battery resulting in serious injury, strangulation and domestic battery.
According to a police affidavit, Funches told authorities that when she and Jefferson returned to their apartment Friday morning, Starks appeared with a gun in his hand.
The affidavit said Funches told authorities she was "150 percent" certain it was Starks who fired at Jefferson.
Speaking just hours before he turned himself in Wednesday, Starks' mother and his sister said they did not believe he was the one who pulled the trigger, despite Funches' description.
"I feel like she's just blaming my brother," said Antrea Starks, Joaquin Starks' sister. "How can you be 150 percent sure it's my brother? Well you just came from a nightclub, it's dark outside and this person has got on all black. You just assume it's my brother. That's not right."
Antrea Starks and her mother, Doris Starks, said Joaquin Starks likely fled only because he was scared and knew his history with Jefferson would immediately make him the primary suspect.
They said more suspects need to be considered because they do not believe Joaquin Starks was capable of the act.
"I love (Jefferson), I'm sorry for her death," Antrea Starks said. "But my brother didn't do that to her. I don't care what anybody says. ... My brother is not this type of person they're explaining him to be."
Joaquin Starks was being held Wednesday night at the Fulton County, Ga., jail.
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So they may not be forgotten...
News articles disappear after time, sometimes within weeks. This website won't disappear. It was brought about because of my absolute disgust with April Will's death in Indianapolis. After the shock wore off, I decided to make sure nobody would forget the victims. Feel free to contact me with victims to add if they have not been added yet. I am working at adding victims for the past several years, at least back to 2004. Beyond that, it is difficult to find information. I am adding any domestic violence death in Indiana (however I am not listing perpetrators that died as a result of murder-suicide).
I have done my best to try and find pictures of all the dear victims so they will not be forgotten. If not available, a burning candle or angel is placed instead. If you have a picture of one of the victims you'd like to share, please contact me at the email address below. Thank you.