Kimberly McKenzie was idling at a stop sign on a January day three years ago when a woman came to her window, asking to bum a cigarette.
Before pulling away from the intersection of Camellia Circle and Ignico Drive in Warner Robins, Alexandria Renee Scott and Justin Terrell Grable used a gun to force their way into McKenzies blue Honda Accord.
Grable drove McKenzie and Scott to a dirt road off Ga. 247 and Feagin Road in Bibb County. There, at one point, McKenzie ran for her life, but Scott fired at the 38-year-old as she fled.
A bullet from the .40-caliber handgun hit McKenzie in the upper leg. She died there in a pecan orchard.
Her body wasnt found until Scott led authorities back to the orchard four days later.
District Attorney David Cooke summarized the case against Scott on Thursday during a plea and sentencing hearing in Bibb County Superior Court.
Scott, 22, pleaded guilty to murder and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison, followed by an additional 10 years.
Grable, 23, pleaded guilty but mentally disabled to his part in the killing last year and was sentenced to life in prison.
Cooke said Scott was in foster care from the time she was 12 to age 17 after being sexually abused.
Her records show she has a history of abuse, neglect and mental illness, including treatment for schizophrenia, although she doesnt exhibit symptoms anymore.
Although prosecutors initially sought the death penalty against Grable and Scott, the evidence of mental illness changed their minds.
Legally, they cant receive the death penalty, Cooke said.
Solving the case
About 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26, 2011, McKenzie left her Centerville home to go to a friends house to do her hair, Cooke said.
One of McKenzies sisters called her cellphone about 7 p.m. and heard a mans voice.
Get in the back seat, the voice said before the call ended.
The sister called right back. She heard McKenzie say, Take the car. You dont have to do this, Cooke said.
At 11:40 p.m., McKenzies family reported her as a missing person.
When Macon police found her car the next day, ditched near the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and Key Street, it had red stains -- possibly from blood -- on the outside. The keys were in the ignition.
Police interviewed a man Jan. 29, 2011, who knew Scott by the name Toots and said she was a member of the Folks gang. Grable also was associated with the gang, but the degree of association is in question, Cooke said.
He said the person told police that Scott wanted a tear drop tattoo -- a sign often associated with having killed someone -- and she wanted to buy a screwdriver so she could steal a car. The mans girlfriend told police that Scott had told her that she and Grable had taken McKenzie down a dirt road and shot her.
As the investigation unfolded, authorities got a tip that Scott had been spotted wearing McKenzies shoes and showing people a picture of her on her cellphone, Cooke said.
On Jan. 30, U.S. marshals tracked Scotts phone and found her hiding in a closet at Pendleton Homes in Macon.
Scott claimed Grable forced her to shoot McKenzie, but Grable later said Scott shot McKenzie repeatedly while he was turning the car around. He said Scott shot her because shed seen their faces, Cooke said.
Police recovered four .40-caliber shell casings fired from the same gun.
Before Scotts sentencing, McKenzies mother addressed the court and spoke of the daily struggle her grandson endures because of his mothers death.
My daughter is not coming back, Betsy McKenzie said.
Alyssa Marshall, McKenzies oldest sister, also read a statement, but her comments were directed at Scott.
I want you to know that the family, relatives and friends of Kim believe she didnt die. Her spirt lives on, Marshall said. We loved her yesterday, today and every day.
Marshall said she believes in a greater power and that todays judgment doesnt count.
I have lived and I will have joy knowing the final judgment will count, she said, looking back at Scott.
Scott offered a one-sentence statement before her sentence was announced.
I am truly sorry for what happened, she said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.