Two men charged with the murder of Berry student

Joseph McDaniel is the second Berry student death within 17 days.

Allie Pritchett, Viking Fusion Executive Director, and Madelin Ryan, Viking Fusion News Producer

UPDATE Friday 6:15 p.m.:

A previous version of this story contained possible false information from our source. Viking Fusion regrets the error. We will continue to update as the investigation progresses.

UPDATE Wednesday 4 p.m.:

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – Debbie Heida, Berry College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, sent an email to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday with information on the funeral arrangements for Joseph McDaniel. Heida wrote:

“Dear friends,

Thank you for your patience as we have awaited information about Joseph’s funeral arrangements.  The unusual nature of his death has necessitated some delay. Visitation and the funeral will be at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 2000 Kay Circle, Columbus, GA. The schedule for visitation includes the Rosary from 4:30-5 p.m. and visitation from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, November 3rd.   The funeral will be held Saturday, November 4th at 11 a.m.

We have made arrangements for buses to transport students to the funeral so that you not need to drive yourself. To register for transportation, go to   Please do so as quickly as possible as we are working with the bus company to insure rides for all of those who desire one. 

If you would like to attend both the visitation and the funeral, several of the McDaniel’s family friends have offered a place to stay so that you do not need to return to Berry and drive back the next morning.  I’m happy to help connect you if you will e-mail me.

I know that many of you will be unable to travel to Columbus due to prior commitments. A campus service has not yet been scheduled but I will share that information when we have it.  His family would like to be here and it will most likely be next week.

The flag will remain at half-mast through Joseph’s funeral on Saturday and will again be at half-mast for our on-campus service.

Grief is both personal and collective.  Each of us grieves for the loss of Joseph in our own way as well as our community grieves for the loss of one of our own.  The loss at the hands of someone else is particularly painful and difficult to wrap our heads and our hearts around.  Grief on top of grief compounds the hurt and shock within our campus community.  If you are hurting, please talk to someone.  If you need help, please reach out to one of our student or professional staff members. Our Counseling Center and the Chaplain’s Office are great resources but so are many of our faculty, staff and peer advisors/mentors/resident advisors who would welcome the chance to pause and help you as you grieve.”

UPDATE Tuesday 4 p.m.:

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – As part of its continuing investigation into the murder of Berry junior Joseph McDaniel Saturday morning, Amy Nails of the Floyd County Police was on campus Tuesday interviewing students.

She said the two 19-year-olds from Columbus, Ga., apprehended in Columbus, brought to Rome and charged with the murder of McDaniel went to high school with McDaniel.

Summerstone Apartments in Rome

The two drove from Columbus to Summerstone Apartments in Rome and had an “altercation” with McDaniel, said Nails, a Floyd County Police investigative officer.

Nails said she could neither confirm nor deny that illegal substances were involved.

As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, no additional arrests had been made as part of the investigation, she said.

UPDATED Sunday 1:30 p.m.:

Investigators have charged two men with the murder of Berry student, Joseph McDaniel, after the shooting that took place early Saturday morning, according to a Floyd County Police Department media release.

Ricket Damon Carter III, 19, of Columbus, and Troy Jamal Cokley, 19, of Riverdale, have both been charged with murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and possession of controlled substance, according to the release. 

Patrol officers responded to 12 Summer Stone Drive, Apartment C around 2:30 a.m. Saturday following a 911 call. Investigators believe that the two men travelled to meet McDaniel in Rome. However, an argument ensued resulting in the death of McDaniel. 

Investigators followed information that led them to Columbus, where the suspects were detained in an apartment complex there. 

McDaniel was originally from Columbus, Georgia. 

Original Story Saturday 4 p.m.:

MOUNT BERRY, Ga.- Joseph McDaniel died late Friday night off of Old Summerville Road past McDonald’s, according to Floyd County Investigative Officer Amy Nails.

McDaniel’s death resulted from a shooting, according to a campus-wide email sent by Dean of Students Debbie Heida. 

Nails said this is an ongoing investigation and she cannot release any more details at this time.

McDaniel was a junior at Berry College studying business management.

There will be an “informal prayer time” in Barnwell Chapel from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to Heida. Funeral arrangements will be made for early next week.

This story will be updated as we receive more information.

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