BY JENNIFER CABRERA
Justin Bernard Clayton, Jr., 21, was arrested yesterday on charges of tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact in connection with the April 5 murder at the Wawa at 1007 E. University Ave.
Gainesville Police Department detectives learned that Clayton was involved in the incident and was in the vehicle with the suspect, Zamonte Hartsfield; after officers made contact with him, Clayton voluntarily agreed to speak with them.
During the interview, Clayton reportedly confirmed that he had been a passenger in Hartsfield’s car and had gotten into the driver’s seat when Hartsfield, who had been driving, got out of the car. Clayton said he heard gunshots after Hartsfield got out of the car, and he immediately drove away. A short time later, he picked up Hartsfield (who still had the gun that was used in the shooting) and drove him to an apartment complex.
Clayton then allegedly burned the clothing Hartsfield was wearing during the shooting. Investigators were able to recover the burned material.
Clayton was previously arrested on a trespassing charge in 2019 and agreed to a deferred prosecution deal. He failed to successfully complete the requirements, and the charge was reinstated. He failed to appear for a court date in December 2020, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. That warrant was served in June of 2021, and he was released on his own recognizance. He again failed to appear for a hearing in July of 2021, and another warrant was issued. That warrant was served in November of 2021 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana, and he was released to court services for day reporting. He failed a drug test on the first day he reported, but by the time that report was filed, his nolo contendere plea had been accepted, with judgment withheld and imposition of a fine, which he has not yet paid, according to court records. The marijuana possession charge was later dropped.
Clayton is being held on $150,000 bail.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.