Macon Regional Crimestoppers is doubling its cash reward for information leading to an arrest in any unsolved Middle Georgia homicide.
The $2,000 reward offer, announced at a Thursday news conference, comes after 25 homicides committed across the county so far this year. Ten of the cases remain unsolved.
“Someone other than the criminal knows about the crime,” said Warren Selby, chairman of Macon Regional Crimestoppers. “That’s where we’re asking for the community for help.”
There were five slayings in October — three on Halloween.
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A tip from someone in the community led to the arrest of Wesley Jamison Holt, who was charged with murder Wednesday in the Oct. 19 shooting death of Jayvon Sherman.
Investigators have been to Central High School every day since the slaying, searching for leads on who might have killed the 16-year-old sophomore, Sheriff David Davis said.
“It all came down to one person having a piece of information,” Davis said. “This person was a juvenile, .... (and) we cannot interview them alone. We have a grandmother to thank for helping us break this case.
“Some of this witness’s other family members were telling him not to say anything, ... but the grandmother, who comes from a generation of being responsible, said, ‘No, you’re going to tell them what you know.’ ”
Holt was arrested on Halloween on a charge of violating probation. He was not charged with murder until Wednesday.
Sherman was found shot in the chest early in the morning near the front of the old Winship Elementary School on Beech Avenue, just a few blocks from Central, in what police think was an attempted armed robbery.
Court records show that Holt, his alleged killer, was charged with burglarizing a house on Cherry Avenue in December 2015. The house is just a few blocks from where Sherman was killed.
Holt also was charged with obstruction for running away when a sheriff's deputy told him to stop, according to Bibb County Superior Court records. He was sentenced as a first offender in October 2016.
Then, in December 2016, Holt was arrested in another burglary, this one on Britt Avenue, off Napier Avenue. He was in jail until July, in part because he hadn't made any of the fine and fee payments stipulated under his first-offender status.
Holt, of Fort Hill Street, was denied bond during a first appearance hearing in Bibb County Magistrate Court on Thursday. A commitment hearing, during which police will explain the reasons for his arrest, is set for Nov. 16.
Jace Tyler Jenkins, also charged with murder, sat on a wooden bench beside Holt in court Thursday.
The 21-year-old from Gray is charged with the Halloween shooting death of Stewart Leslie Gordon Jr. at 1476 Burton Ave. The sheriff said investigators found drug paraphernalia at the scene, but the motive for the killing is unclear.
Gordon, 38, has a criminal history in Jones County, but Jenkins does not, officials there said. Jenkins requested a commitment hearing, which is set for Nov. 16.
Gordon was one of three people shot to death in the county on Halloween.
About the same time, 38-year-old Jackie Dewayne Rouse was shot dead. His cousin, Quincey Bernard Emory, was wounded and taken to the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
Earlier that day, Candace Towns, a transgender woman, was found shot to death at the end of a driveway on Rosecrest Avenue.
The 30-year-old’s body was found in between two houses, one blighted and the other burned, just south of downtown.
She had been shot in the left side of her face, according to a sheriff deputy’s report. A shell casing was found between her legs.
Towns had been staying at the Rodeway Inn on Eisenhower Parkway. Surveillance video captured a “vehicle of interest,” which the sheriff described as a tan or gold Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
So far, there’s no evidence that her death was a hate crime, the sheriff said.
Towns was shot in the ankle in 2009 just a block or two from where she was found dead.
Telegraph writers Liz Fabian and Joe Kovac Jr. contributed to this report.