3 charged in fatal shooting of Detroit auto parts store manager in court for preliminary exam

James Haller Jr. shot to death during robbery at O'Reilly Auto Parts store

DETROIT - Three people charged in connection with the fatal shooting of an auto parts store manager in Detroit returned to court Friday for a preliminary exam.

Eboni Monae McEwen-Ross, 28; Shawnta Sharee Anderson, 23; and Leviticus Butler, 38, are accused of being involved in a robbery at the O'Reilly Auto Parts store on Schaefer Highway on Detroit's west side.

The trio was initially supposed to have a preliminary exam Dec. 18, but it was moved back by more than a month.

3 taken into custody

McEwen-Ross was arraigned Nov. 19 after her attorney alleged she waited two weeks to surrender to law enforcement because she was retaining counsel. 

McEwen-Ross turned herself in Nov. 13. She was charged with felony murder and two counts of armed robbery. 

James Haller, 69, was shot to death while working Nov. 1 at the O'Reilly Auto Parts store in the 168000 block of Schaefer Highway.

The prosecutor acknowledged how long it took McEwen-Ross to surrender to authorities.

“I think she was fully aware that she was being sought out by law enforcement and I think she actively and willingly hid from law enforcement,” the prosecutor said.

McEwen-Ross' attorney alleged that she didn't turn herself in sooner because she was trying to retain counsel.

Police were searching for at least two suspects: Anderson and McEwen-Ross. Officials said Anderson was responsible for fatally shooting Haller during the robbery, which was caught on surveillance video.

James Haller Jr. was shot to death while working during a robbery Nov. 1, 2017 at an auto parts store in Detroit. (WDIV)

Anderson was taken into custody Nov. 6 and faces charges including felony murder, two counts of armed robbery and three counts of felony firearm.

Butler, of Detroit, also was taken into custody with Anderson. He is accused of helping Anderson escape police and is charged with accessory after the fact.

Leviticus Butler at his arraignment (WDIV)

Shawnta Anderson at her arraignment (WDIV)

Both Butler and Anderson were arraigned last week. Anderson is being held at the Wayne County Jail without bond. Butler is being held on $500,000 bond and will be required to wear a GPS tether if bond is posted.

"By all accounts Mr. Haller was a valued ex-Marine, employee, police reservist, husband, and father," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in a statement. "His death is heartbreaking. We will vigorously prosecute this case and do our very best to bring justice to Mr. Haller and his family."

What happened

James W. Haller Jr. was shot and killed during a robbery at the O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Schaefer Highway. He was gunned down at about 5:30 p.m.

Eboni Monae Mcewen-Ross and Shawnta Anderson -- two women wanted in connection with a deadly shooting at Detroit auto parts store.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Police search for 2 women after employee killed during robbery at O'Reilly Auto Parts in Detroit

Haller served as a Marine in the Vietnam War and was a retired assembly line worker at General Motors. He served with the Detroit Police Department as a reserve officer in the late 1970s. He was 69.

Surveillance video shows two women walking into the store and milling around before pulling out a gun and announcing a robbery.

The women were clearing out the cash register when Haller went to aide employees.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said Anderson pointed a handgun at two cashiers and ordered them to the floor before fatally shooting Haller.  

"Anderson walked around the counter to the cash register, pointed the gun at the female cashier and ordered her to open the register," a statement from the Prosecutor's Office reads. "As Anderson walked from behind the counter, Mr. Haller came from the back of the store and said, 'Hey!' and she fired a single shot, striking him in the head. Anderson fled from the scene in a SUV."

Haller was rushed to a hospital where he died two hours later.

Surveillance video shows robbery, shooting

Surveillance video from inside O’Reilly Auto Parts shows the robbery in progress and the moment Haller was fatally shot.

Other customers are shown taking cover on the floor and in the corner.

Sources: Suspects tangled in love triangle

Butler told investigators he is in a love triangle with the two female suspects, sources told Local 4.

Butler told investigators he considers Anderson and McEwen-Ross his girlfriends.

Why would the two women allegedly rob an auto parts store for about $100, then shoot and kill the manager? Butler told detectives that it happened on his birthday, and he was planning to go out, sources said.

Butler told officials he believes the women were after money to buy him a birthday present or to use as they celebrated that night, sources told Local 4.

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