Verdicts reached in fake gender reveal party murder trial

Posted at 7:28 PM, February 1, 2022 and last updated 12:22 AM, December 13, 2022

By: B.J. Bethel

CINCINNATI (WCPO) — Two Columbus men were convicted on charges related to a murder-for-hire plot in Colerain Township in July 2017.

James Echols, 26, was found guilty of 22 charges – including aggravated murder and murder – while Michael Sanon, 24, was found guilty on one charge of attempted murder.

James Echols is led into a court room at the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas on Wed., Jan. 26, 2022. (WCPO)

Autum Garrett, 22, of Indiana was killed in the shooting while eight others — including three children — were wounded by gunfire.

The shooting occurred at what law enforcement determined was a fake gender reveal party. Garrett’s cousin, Cheyanne Willis, hosted the party. She claimed to have lost a child during the shooting, but law enforcement determined she lied about being pregnant. Police later said the shooting wasn’t random and victims at the party were tied to drug rings. Law enforcement blasted victims and witnesses for being uncooperative.

Echols was found guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, two counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder, nine counts of felonious assault and one count of cruel treatment against a companion animal.

Sanon was found guilty on one charge of attempted murder.

Vandell Slade, 33, and Roshawn Bishop, 31, are also charged with murder in connection to the shooting.

This story was originally published Feb. 1, 2022, by WCPO in Cincinnati, an E.W. Scripps Company.