In 2018, Athens-Clarke County police investigated seven homicides.
As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, all, for the exception of one, were classified as murders. Police said the exception was a justified self-defense killing. Of the six murders, only one of them did not result in arrests, even though warrants were obtained for a suspect in that case.
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“Depending on the specific incident, the success of the investigations can be attributed to the cooperation of the public at large, both citizens and businesses for providing information to assist in the investigations, and the rapid dedicated response of our personnel to the investigations,” Athens-Clarke County interim police Chief Mike Hunsinger said.
Last January 29 was when the first alleged murder occurred. Police said Antonio T. Littlejohn shot and killed his girlfriend, 22-year-old Jennifer Jacobs during an argument at the victim’s residence on Sartain Drive. The single mother of a 3-year-old girl was shot once in the chest. Taken into custody for a probation violation later the day of Jacob’s death, Littlejohn was subsequently charged with malice murder.
The second alleged homicide was on May 11, when police said that Malachi Qaadir Dorns, 24, stabbed his brother and mother during a domestic dispute in their Cumberland Court residence. Muniyr Gay, 29, succumbed to his injuries at the scene and Gail Dorns, 54, who was stabbed multiple times survived her injuries. Indicted for malice murder, Dorns later entered a special plea of incompetent to stand trial.
The next month, on June 4, Saheed Rakkel Snow, 21, died from multiple gunshot wounds at Nellie B. Homes in what police said was an armed robbery. Two cousins from Madison County, David Rojas Garcia, 22, and Martin Borjas Garcia, 18, were subsequently arrested and indicted for malice murder and other offenses.
On July 17, just a little more than a month later, police said 25-year-old Baxter Drive resident Randy Junior Leverette shot and killed fellow Piru gang member David Deshun Cooper at Perry’s Convenience Store on Cedar Shoals Drive. According to Clarke County Superior Court documents, Cooper and William Tremaine “Hunxho” Worley intended to punish Leverette for not retaliating against another gang member after a previous assault. Leverette reportedly killed Cooper by shooting him multiple times, but Worley was able to run away, police said.
Later that day, police arrested Leverette for murder, but a grand jury did not indict him for murder as they believed he was trying to defend himself from imminent harm.
On November 5, a justified homicide occurred when police said a Ponderosa Drive man justifiably shot and killed 44-year-old Elberton resident Quincy Davis. According to police, Davis was waiting outside the Ponderosa Drive home of his former girlfriend and as she was leaving to go to work, Davis put a gun to her head and forced her back in the house.
“After the suspect entered the home, he opened fire on the family,” an Athens-Clarke County police spokesman said. “The father returned fire, defending his family, striking the suspect.”
A little over a month later, on Dec. 10, Habersham Drive resident Walter James Brown Jr., 31, was gunned down by two different guns at the Oak Hill Apartments complex in what police said was a “dispute about a drug transaction.” There were three suspects that were involved in the dispute and charged with murder for Brown’s death, but police were not sure which of them shot Brown.
“We’re still trying to nail down who did what, but all three suspects were there when (the fatal shooting) happened,” Athens-Clarke County police Capt. Jerry Saulters said.
Police identified the suspects as Ralph Lakee Bess, 29, of East Paces Drive; Maurice Antwone Lawrence, 31, of Club Drive; and Davonte Jamal Brown, 25, of North Ridge Drive.
The last homicide of the year occurred Dec. 14 when 32-year-old Rodriguez Rucker was fatally shot on Royal Court in east Athens where he lived with his grandmother. Police subsequently obtained a malice murder warrant for Philmon D. Chambers, 30, of Decatur, who was still at large as of Friday. Police have not yet released possible motives for Rucker’s murder.