Houston & Peach

Warner Robins man sentenced to life for murder of man who attempted to mentor him

Scene of ‘possible homicide’ in Warner Robins

Police were dispatched Saturday morning to "a possible homicide" at a residence at Villa North Court, according to a Warner Robins police news release. Crime scene investigators remained on scene late Saturday afternoon with a section of the road
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Police were dispatched Saturday morning to "a possible homicide" at a residence at Villa North Court, according to a Warner Robins police news release. Crime scene investigators remained on scene late Saturday afternoon with a section of the road

A Warner Robins man was sentenced Friday to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of a man who had attempted to mentor him.

Daniel Maurice Thomas, 25, was sentenced by Houston County Chief Judge Edward D. Lukemire to the life sentence on the malice murder conviction, said Assistant District Attorney Clif Woody.

On Wednesday, a Houston County jury found Thomas guilty of both malice and felony murder for shooting Elliott S. Mizell, 55, inside Mizell’s Warner Robins home on the early morning of Dec. 9, 2017.

Mizell, who suffered gunshot wounds to the head and neck, was found dead in his bed, according to arrest warrants. The house on Villa North Court was in disarray, a rear sliding glass door was open and gloves with blood on them were found in the backyard.

Mizell had been mentoring Thomas and allowed him to sleep over on the couch at least once in the past, Thomas’ mother had told police, warrants said.

Thomas admitted to police about being involved in the shooting but claimed it was accidental during a struggle with Ezell. Thomas said the gun discharged accidentally, according to the prosecution. But evidence collected at the scene and other interviews did not support Thomas’ story.

Witnesses, who described Mizell as kind, giving and helpful, testified at trial that it was unlikely Mizell would have been in an altercation based on his health at the time.

Mizell was a member of the Fort Valley State University Warner Robins Area Alumni Chapter, FVSU Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapter and St. Peter AME Church in Fort Valley.

“We appreciate the jury for their service and in returning a verdict that speaks the truth,” said Woody, who prosecuted the case. “We appreciate Judge Lukemire’s sentence that reflects the cold-blooded manner of Elliott Mizell’s murder.

“We appreciate the Warner Robins Police Department, especially Detective Justin Clark. Our heart goes out the Mr. Mizell’s family, his church, FVSU and the Alpha Phi Alpha,” Woody said.

Becky Purser covers breaking and Houston County news. She previously covered crime and courts for Houston and Peach counties for The Telegraph. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communications/news-editorial sequence, Becky also has covered city and county government for Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia newspapers.
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