July 2017 trial set for man accused of killing toddler
Henry Hayes IV charged with murder in drive-by shooting of Aiden McClendon
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 17-year-old charged with murder in the January drive-by shooting of 22-month-old Aiden McClendon is set to go on trial next July, a judge decided Thursday.
His defense attorney filed a motion for a mental competency evaluation for Henry Hayes IV.
Police said the toddler was killed in a shooting that was part of an ongoing gang rivalry in which the target was an older family member.
Police said Aiden was sitting in a car with his mother and grandmother parked in front of a house on Spearing Street about 6 p.m. Jan. 29 when a white car came by and two gunmen inside sprayed bullets, leaving Aiden critically injured. He died at a hospital. No one else in the car was injured.
According to discovery material obtained by News4Jax, Aiden was shot three times and died from a gunshot wound to the back.
The discovery material shows that the day after the Jan. 29 shooting, an eyewitness told police that Hayes was one of the shooters and police learned that the teenager is part of the "Problem Child Entertainment" gang. Then 24 hours later, JSO raided an abandoned house on Helena Street, where several gang members were known to be staying, and seven people were arrested that night.
Hayes was at the home, but he was not arrested. He was later brought in for questioning, according to the documents. Two days later, a woman told police that she was in the car with D'Angelo Wilson when he received a call from his brother, Sanquan Bradford, also known as "Rondo," who said he was in trouble.
"He's like, 'He killed that baby.' Mind you, the phone is already on and he's talking to his brother. So I'm like, 'He killed that baby?'" the woman told investigators.
Two days later, Wilson was arrested. His arrest report indicated he was charged with accessory to murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was jailed on a $1 million bond.
Several months later in August, the State Attorney's Office decided that Wilson's actions "did not rise to the level of a prosecutorial offense," and that formal charges were not filed against him.
A few days after Wilson was arrested, Hayes was pulled over while driving his father's car on Feb. 7 and police said they found a 9mm gun inside the car -- the same type of gun that was used to kill Aiden, according to the discovery material. Police took the gun.
Bradford, 18, was then arrested on Feb. 9 and charged with carjacking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Bradford was the other person in the car the night of the shooting that killed Aiden, according to police.
According to court records, the Toyota used in the killing was taken the night before Aiden was killed.
Bradford is not charged in Aiden's killing because there is not enough evidence, despite Lewis saying he heard the conversation when she says they talked about it, according to the court documents. He is being held on $2.7 million bond.
News4Jax found a 10-minute video, which was included in the new discovery material, of a conversation that Bradford has with two JSO detectives. In the video, the detectives show him a photo of the white Toyota used in the drive-by shooting and Bradford says he's never seen it.
Shortly after, the detectives pick up their folders, saying they're done with him, and that's when Bradford responds.
Bradford: "I got to know why you picked me up."
JSO detective: "For carjacking. We've got a warrant for you for armed carjacking. That's what you're being arrested for, all right?"
Bradford: "How could I got an armed carjacking?"
JSO detective: "Because you were identified and we have evidence of you in that car. I was trying to ask you to explain if there was another reason you got there, but whatever, you don't want to play these games. I ain't going to sit here with a child and play games. That's what you're under arrest for, armed carjacking. You'll be booked when we're done with your paperwork."
A month later, Hayes is arrested on March 10 and charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and other charges in the Jan. 29 shooting that killed Aiden.
The arrest was made after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement forensically tested the 9mm gun found inside car that Hayes was pulled over in and learned that it was the same gun used to kill Aiden, according to the discovery material. Police also said cellphone records put Hayes near the crime seen at the time of the shooting.
Hayes has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond.
Police said they believe Bradford and Hayes were intending to shoot at Aiden's cousin, 19-year-old Reginald Williams, who is a member of the rival "Out East" gang.
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