'Three gunshot wounds to the ... head, which killed him,' prosecutor says
A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a drug-related killing two years ago.
Cedric Demon Stokes, 31, was sentenced Thursday by Houston County Superior Court Judge Edward D. Lukemire to 20 years in prison. Stokes entered a best-interest plea rather than risk conviction of the greater charge of malice murder at trial.
The victim, 22-year-old Dylan Ray Akers of Warner Robins, was killed in an exchange of gunfire inside a parked car in Bonaire on March 13, 2014.
Other charges of felony murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm during a crime were dismissed.
Stokes, who was charged and booked into the Houston County jail under an alias of Lamar Isiodre, also received credit for time served.
Assistant District Attorney Clif Woody said Akers and another man, whose identity is not known, drove to the the 300 block of Ashwood Drive near Feagin Mill Road and parked in front of a residence.
Stokes got into the rear passenger side of the vehicle for “some type of drug transaction,” Woody said.
Something went wrong, which led to Akers firing his gun three times — striking Stokes once in the leg. At the “same time or shortly afterward,” Stokes fired his gun five times, Woody said.
Akers was struck once in the right cheek, once in the chest and three times in the head, which killed him, Woody said.
After the exchange of gunfire, a bleeding Stokes got out of the car and was seen limping between the buildings of Countryside Apartments. Blood that was recovered from the scene matched his DNA, Woody said.
Stokes got a ride to Atlanta where he planned to stay at a relative’s residence but was taken to a Gwinnett County hospital because he was bleeding so badly, Woody said.
Law enforcement agencies were asked to be on the lookout for a gunshot victim seeking medical treatment and arriving in a personal vehicle, authorities said. The Duluth Police Department responded that such man, later identified as Stokes, had shown up at a Gwinnett County hospital.