Macon man gets life without parole in shooting

A Macon man drew a life sentence without the possibility parole Monday for his role in a 2010 shooting.

Superior Court Judge Martha Christian sentenced 25-year-old Maurius Javon Durham after a jury found Durham guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault and two counts of armed robbery in the shooting death of Cornelius Baldwin.

“I weighed many factors,” Christian told Durham as she pronounced the sentence. “Your actions have been considered. You showed a complete and utter disregard for human life. Further, you have not taken any responsibility.”

Durham’s attorney, Mark Beberman, had argued for a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 30 years, noting that Durham had no prior criminal convictions.

During the session, Beberman briefly questioned Durham’s mother, Jackie Watts, on the stand, asking her about his childhood.

But Bibb County District Attorney Greg Winters read portions of letters from Baldwin’s loved ones and noted that Durham showed a complete lack of regard for Baldwin during the shooting, using the money he stole during the armed robbery to go on a shopping spree.

“All (Durham) cared about was money,” Winters said. “He decided to have a party and go shopping. He wanted to impress his girlfriend.”

During the trial, Sharon Dotson -- Baldwin’s girlfriend -- testified that she had just put her children in Baldwin’s car as they were leaving his house on Churchill Street Jan. 9, 2010, when a purple car drove up. Baldwin and the man inside the car talked for a moment, and then a gunshot rang out, followed by a second shot.

Baldwin asked the man why he was doing this and then heard the shooter say, “Just give me all your money,” Dotson testified. Police didn’t recover the gun used or a wallet and cell phone that were taken. Baldwin was shot through the arm and the bullet went into his chest. He died during surgery. When calling 911, he identified Durham during the call.

Durham was given an opportunity to make a statement to Christian before she decided on a sentence, but he declined.

Winters said after the hearing that he was pleased with the sentence.

“Hopefully, it will send a message to the rest of the community that if you do something like this, there are consequences,” he said. “The family is very relieved. They’ve been scared since this whole thing happened.”