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Charge upgraded to murder for suspect accused of shooting man along I-565

The victim died Thursday night just after 6 p.m.

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 4:19 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 1:38 PM

The charge has been upgraded from attempted murder to murder for a Birmingham man, Justin Watts, accused of shooting someone Thursday morning along Interstate 565 near Zierdt Road.

The victim, 34-year-old Martez Jermain Haynes, died Thursday night just after 6 p.m. 

According to Lieutenant Johnson with Huntsville Police, the call of the shooting came in as a suicide by gun. There were a total of four males and two females inside a van that had been travelling east, and police say the victim and the suspect were in the backseat. 

When police first arrived, an officer saw the suspect exiting the van while holding a gun. The officer pulled out his weapon and the suspect then dropped the gun. He told police that he had “shot the man” and “wanted a lawyer.” Watts was placed in the back of a patrol car and the gun was secured.

Witness statements were taken from the four other people who were in the vehicle, who said they heard the gunshot and that Watts then said the victim had shot himself. They called 911 and pulled over on the side of Interstate 565.

Haynes was taken to Huntsville Hospital for treatment after the shooting, and his family has been notified of his death.

All of the people in the van worked for a cleaning business near Birmingham.

According to court documents, Watts pleaded guilty to a burglary 3rd degree charge in 2013. He also had a domestic violence 3rd degree harassment case from 2016 that was dismissed. Both cases were in Jefferson County.

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