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Floyd Palmer, Ga. megachurch shooting suspect, to face murder trial

Gregory McDowell (left) was killed in a shooting at a Ga. church Wednesday; Floyd Palmer (right) is the suspected shooter CBS Atlanta

(CBS/AP) ATLANTA - A judge has ruled that Floyd Palmer, a man accused of gunning down a volunteer prayer leader during a service at a Georgia megachurch, will face a murder trial.

Fulton County Magistrate Judge Karen Smith Woodson found there is probable cause to move forward with charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony against Palmer.

Police say Palmer fatally shot 39-year-old Greg McDowell as McDowell led a prayer group at World Changers Church International outside Atlanta on Oct. 24.

No one else was hurt.

Witnesses say McDowell had been pacing back and forth during the prayer service but stopped as Palmer approached the front of the chapel, Fulton County police Detective John Cross testified. Palmer began shooting when he reached the pulpit and continued to shoot McDowell once he'd fallen to the floor, witnesses told police.

An investigation revealed McDowell was shot 12 times, including one bullet that went through his heart and caused profuse bleeding, Cross said.

Police still haven't recovered the gun used in the shooting, but but say they found bullets in Palmer's home with casings like those at the scene. Palmer did not legally own a gun, Cross said. Palmer had tried to buy two guns at a gun show in Savannah on Aug. 11 but was turned down because he falsified information on his application, failing to disclose his prior mental health history, Cross said.

Police records show Palmer was charged more than a decade ago with a shooting outside a Maryland mosque. Palmer was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2004 after pleading not criminally responsible in the mosque shooting.

Defense attorney Drew Findling has previously said Palmer's mental competency must be evaluated as the criminal case against him moves forward, but he did not raise the issue Friday.

Complete coverage of the shooting at World Changers Church on Crimesider

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