Houston & Peach

Fort Valley man who fled after child’s shooting death appears in court

FORT VALLEY -- One of five men accused of firing shots that fatally wounded an 8-year-old boy appeared for the first time Friday in a Peach County courtroom.

Dennis Ray Eason, 25, of Fort Valley, had fled after the January shooting and was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, as he was boarding a bus. He was extradited back to Georgia on Thursday.

He is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and terroristic threats and acts.

Eason appeared briefly before Peach County Magistrate Judge Larry Lee at a hearing in which the charges against him were explained, and he was asked if he needed an attorney.

The hearing was held in a small courtroom of the Peach County Law Enforcement Center.

Eason, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, said he planned to hire an attorney. Lee bound the case over to Superior Court. The next step in the process is a bond hearing.

Arrest warrants issued for Eason and four others accuse each of firing into unit 2-E of Indian Oak Apartments in Fort Valley at 1:40 a.m. Jan. 6. Eight-year-old Jai’mel Anderson was fatally wounded as he lay on an air mattress in the living room of De’Jad Marquint Williams’ apartment.

The four others -- Kristian Jamal Wipfel, 19; Antonio Darrelle Garvin, 20; Jeremy Quillen Jackson, 24; and Tevin Juwan Sams, 20, all of Macon -- previously appeared in Peach County Magistrate Court. All are charged with felony murder.

Also, Williams, who was taking care of Jai’mel, has been charged with second degree murder and cruelty to children in the boy’s death.

Williams, the boyfriend of Jai’mel’s mother, is accused of acting with negligence and reckless disregard for the boy’s safety when he exchanged texts that included threats with Eason prior to the incident.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.