For today’s plus earlier reports of this story, view the video player above.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A man arrested for allegedly shooting two women in south Columbus, including his sister, plus a third person, faced a judge Tuesday.
Joseph Howard, 19, faced a judge two months after a triple shooting at a Merion Village biker bar. Howard is charged with the murders of Tavia Copley, 24, and his sister Taya Mollette, 24, after he intervened in a fight the two women were having at Double D’s Pub on South High Street.
According to court records, the women got into a fight outside of the bar at around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 13. At Tuesday’s arraignment hearing, prosecuting attorneys said that Howard yelled, “Get off my sister,” and fired a shot towards the women. Both Copley, Mollette and a third person, a man, were struck.
Howard reportedly went to help Mollette, then turned his attention back to Copley, who was sitting on the ground, and allegedly told her it would be her last breath before shooting her in the head, execution style. Prosecutors said that Howard then threatened another witness, stole their phone and attempted to stop the third victim from calling 911.
Copley was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:46 p.m. Mollette and the third victim were taken to Grant Medical Center and listed in critical condition. Mollette died there a short time later.
Howard then fled Columbus and was arrested two weeks later by federal marshals in Largo, Florida.
He was issued a $2 million bond in Franklin County Municipal Court and is next scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 26.