The Whitehall Division of Police has closed a homicide case after the man charged in connection with the slaying died in custody at the Franklin County jail.

Police had charged 57-year-old Woldai Gebremedhin, whose last known address was on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus, with aggravated murder in connection with a homicide Nov. 21, 2018, in the parking lot of V-Tech Auto Service, 4257 E. Main St.

Gebremedhin, then 58, was found dead Jan. 27 at the Franklin County jail.

He committed suicide by hanging himself, said Sgt. Billy Duffer of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

"For our purposes, the case is closed for us," Whitehall Sgt. John Grebb said.

Whitehall police notified the family of Mulugeta Shiferaw, whom Gebremedhin was accused of fatally shooting, Grebb said.

Police arrested Gebremedhin on Dec. 3 in the 2300 block of Cleveland Avenue, at a car-repair shop where he also was known to reside, Grebb said.

It was not a random shooting, Grebb said.

"The victim and the suspect had been acquaintances for years, and the shooting is believed to stem from a previous dispute," he said.

On Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving, Whitehall police responded to multiple reports of gunfire in the area of East Main Street and Elaine Road and found Shiferaw, 47, of Heather Bridge Lane in Blacklick lying in the parking lot of V-Tech Auto Service.

Shiferaw was an employee at the shop.

Whitehall medics pronounced Shiferaw dead at the scene, Grebb said.

It was not clear how long the pair were acquainted or the origin of the conflict that led to the shooting, but Gebremedhin told police, "We just didn't get along," Grebb said.

The slaying in November 2018 was the first in Whitehall since April 2016. No homicides have been reported in the city since then.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

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