Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Defense attorney Ricky Morris cross-examines Henry County police Detective Steve Ingram during a probable cause hearing Monday morning for Brian Mack Feltman (left), charged with causing the death of his pregnant girlfriend, Meghann Pope. Ingram is an accident investigator and testified as an expert witness.
McDONOUGH — Family and friends of a pregnant Locust Grove woman hit and killed as she walked through her exclusive subdivision Aug. 19 appeared visibly distraught but internalized their emotions as they listened Monday in court to the details of how she died.
Meghann Pope’s boyfriend, Brian Mack Feltman, was arrested last month and charged with murder in her death and feticide in the death of her unborn female fetus. Henry County police said he intentionally hit her while driving her dad’s Ford F-150. Feltman, 27, had been held without bond in the Henry County Jail awaiting a probable cause hearing.
Henry Chief Magistrate Robert Godwin listened to evidence presented by Assistant Solicitor General Bill McBroom and bound over the case to Superior Court on lesser charges of first degree vehicular homicide and feticide by motor vehicle.
“I’m not saying it wasn’t murder but there’s not sufficient evidence in this court for a finding of murder,” said Godwin. “The officer said he had no evidence of intent. I can’t infer it and I can’t supply it as the trier of fact at this level.”
Prosecutors will present the case to a grand jury and let jurors decide which charges fit the evidence.
Godwin set a $100,000 bond on all charges. At one point, Godwin warned spectators to not comment on the testimony of officers and the questioning by the attorneys.
Pope was found dead in the roadway inside Heron Bay subdivision, less than a mile from the home she shared with Feltman. She was four months pregnant. The two had been to a McDonough bar earlier that night with friends, who told police they argued. Feltman left her at home and drove to another friend’s home. According to police, one of the last contacts anyone had with Pope was a text she sent to the friend, asking that Feltman be sent home “safe.”
Henry County police accident re-constructionist Detective Steve Ingram told Godwin that he found Pope’s blood, tissue and hair evidence along a 30-feet long straight line on the street, indicating that she’d been dragged after being hit by the truck. The same forensic evidence was found on the truck, along with a dent on the hood, indicating Pope possibly rolled up on it before ending up underneath, he said.
Detective John Thacker testified that based on the manner of the collision, Pope’s death was ruled a homicide. He also said Feltman gave conflicting statements as to what happened to police, his mother and Pope’s father, Lawrence Pope. In recorded calls from jail, Pope asked Feltman to “be honest” and tell him what happened to his daughter, said Thacker.
“The defendant told Lawrence Pope that he thought he ran over someone in the road but he didn’t know who it was so he kept driving and went home,” he said. “When he got home, he discovered Meghann wasn’t there so he went out looking for her and discovered it was Meghann in the road and not a stranger.”
Thacker said Feltman told Officer Danny Stapp he saw something in the road as he drove home, passed it but discovered it to be Pope so he stopped.
“He said he’d seen the body but he didn’t think he’d hit the body,” he said.
In another account, Feltman allegedly told another officer it was dark and he suddenly observed his girlfriend in the road.
“He told the officer, ‘I just ran over her like, I don’t know, she was just lying there,’” said Thacker. “His final statement to me, several hours later, was that he didn’t (expletive deleted) know what happened, she was just lying there, that he’d hit her. He said, ‘My baby’s gone.’ But he maintained that she was already hit in the road.”
Thacker said the couple had a tumultuous relationship — a characterization objected to by defense attorney Ricky Morris. However, Godwin allowed Thacker to discuss statements from Pope’s friends about the relationship, including an account where Feltman allegedly hit her with a pistol inside the car while she drove, just days before she died.
“He allegedly hit her behind the right ear with a pistol,” said Thacker. “He was intoxicated, he was belligerent, he was angry. He fired the pistol inside the vehicle and then hit her with it. She stopped the car and told him to get out. He did and she left.”
Thacker said the autopsy revealed the healing bruise and welt behind her right ear. Pope’s friends told police she wanted out of the relationship after the alleged assault. Thacker also testified that Lawrence Pope told police that Feltman asked his daughter several times to have an abortion. Morris again objected.
“This shows a motive of murder, if he doesn’t want her to have the child,” said McBroom.
No one witnessed the collision between the truck and Pope, said Thacker. No witnesses were able to testify about Feltman having the intent to kill Pope, said Morris.