A 17-year-old Lizella teenager drew a life sentence Monday for shooting a man to death outside a Bibb County convenience store last year.
Javone Malik Taylor, of Columbus Road, pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault in Bibb County Superior Court. Taylor also was sentenced to 20 years for aggravated assault, but he will serve the 20 years simultaneously with the life sentence. He won’t be eligible for parole for 30 years.
Taylor fatally shot 26-year-old Jaymal Patel of Sandersville during a robbery at the Raceway store, 5127 Mercer University Drive, on Sept. 4, 2009.
Patel’s death was the third in a string of Middle Georgia gas station killings. Dilipbhai “Danny” Patel, 51, was shot to death in a Baldwin County armed robbery in July. Dipak “Danny” Patel, 29, was fatally shot Aug. 30 during a robbery at the Chevron station at 1257 Riverside Drive in Macon.
Hundreds of people from the Indian community rallied for peace and safety through downtown Macon after the slayings. Several businesses also installed security cameras and bulletproof glass in response.
During much of Monday’s court session, Taylor rocked from side to side, shifting his weight from left to right. He listened quietly as the prosecutor described how Jaymal Patel rode to the Mercer University Drive gas station with a woman just after midnight so he could get a ride home with his brother, who worked at the station.
Patel was out of the car and gathering his belongings when a man pointed a gun at him and demanded money, prosecutor Garrison A. Wood said. The man, later identified as the then- 16-year-old Taylor, pointed the gun at the woman and she drove off.
Patel gave Taylor his empty wallet, but Taylor demanded money again and shot Patel in the arm and the head, authorities have said.
A witness told Bibb County deputies that she was driving past the store at the time and heard two gunshots, Wood said.
While investigating the killing, deputies found that Taylor had talked to a man outside the store before the shooting. Using surveillance footage, deputies identified the van that the man traveled in, and they subsequently found the man. He said he knew Taylor from Westside High School and picked out his picture in a yearbook, Wood said.
During Monday’s hearing, additional charges against Taylor were dropped — including armed robbery and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony — in exchange for his guilty plea.
Taylor’s father, Douglas Taylor, pleaded for the judge’s mercy during Monday’s hearing.
“He’s being charged as a man, but he’s still my child,” the father said.
Douglas Taylor said he took his son to a friend’s house for a party on the night of the killing. The younger Taylor drank alcohol at the party and became intoxicated for the first time, Douglas Taylor said.
Taylor said his son went to the gas station to use a pay phone and get a ride home. He called his father three times that night, but his father didn’t answer.
“Javone was trying to go home,” he said.
Taylor said he moved his family to Lizella so his son wouldn’t grow up in the inner city, and he tried to protect the boy from negative influences in the world.
He said his son accepts responsibility for his actions.
Bibb County Juvenile Court records show Taylor was adjudicated guilty of multiple offenses in 2008, including criminal trespass, theft by receiving a motor vehicle, causing a false fire alarm, battery and multiple violations of probation.
He also was adjudicated guilty of interfering with a 911 call, disrupting a public school and three counts of simple battery in Houston County. Since Taylor lived in Bibb County, he was sentenced in Bibb County Juvenile Court, according to the records.
Taylor was ordered to serve stints in a youth detention center on two occasions, and he was committed to the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice twice, according to the records.
A trial date has not been set for the three men charged with robbing and fatally shooting Dipak “Danny” Patel on Aug. 30.
Baldwin County sheriff’s Capt. Brad King said no arrests have been made in Dilipbhai “Danny” Patel’s death.
Baldwin deputies have compared details of the Macon killings with Dilipbhai Patel’s death and have not found connections, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at 445-4891 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.