published Friday, June 5th, 2009

Ringgold: Son held after mom killed in ambush

An investigator said Thursday that police “won’t discount anything as a motive” that might explain why a former Ringgold resident’s 18-year-old son apparently ambushed and killed her Tuesday outside his apartment in Sandy Springs, Ga.

Shani Fecht, 40, was killed with a 9 mm carbine as she drove up to her son’s apartment, Sandy Springs Police Lt. Steve Rose said by telephone Thursday afternoon.

The weapon belonged to her son, Alexander “Zeke” Cordell, and it was still in his vehicle when SWAT officers arrested him later that day at a shopping center about 1.5 miles from the scene, Lt. Rose said.

Mr. Cordell has been charged with murder and is being held without bond pending action by the Fulton County grand jury, Lt. Rose said.

Shani Fecht was Shana Strickland when she graduated in the Ringgold High School Class of 1986.

Her husband, Mike Fecht, who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, said in a statement Thursday that he has lost his soulmate.

“To all of my friends and family in Chattanooga, I can’t begin to explain the depth of my sorrow in losing such an amazing, dynamic, caring, passionate and beautiful woman,” Mr. Fecht said. “Her free spirit is now truly free. She was my soulmate and life partner and always will be.

“She had the most radiant smile and magnetic personality of anyone I’ve ever met. Her laughter could fill a room of any size, and when she loved you, you knew it. She loved me and her son and daughter with every part of her being.”

On her MySpace page, Ms. Fecht said she attended Dalton State College and studied journalism at Chattanooga State Technical Community College.

She described herself as a “tree hugging, granola eating, vegetarian hippie.” She went on to write, “I love my son and daughter, my husband and my new dog, Jeter.”

Reports on WSB Radio in Atlanta said Mr. Cordell may have been upset that his mother was planning to move to Miami. Lt. Rose said he knew the subject had come up but he said he could not discuss a possible motive for the crime.

Lt. Rose said police will check phone records to see if Mr. Cordell called his mother before she left her Atlanta home and drove to his apartment on Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs.

According to what neighbors reported, Mr. Cordell was waiting when Mrs. Fecht arrived at the gates to the apartment community.

“He’s there, he reaches into his car, he pulled the weapon and started shooting,” Lt. Rose said. “It’s a strange and somewhat bizarre set of circumstances.”

Staff writers Ben Benton and Judy Walton contributed to this story.

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