From the witness stand, Linda Baldwin described how in the middle of the night she learned of the death of her brother, Jim Jullian “Jimmy Jam” Baldwin.
Someone banged on her door in the small hours of April 14, 2018, and when she opened it cried, “He killed Jimmy Jam! He killed Jimmy Jam!”
Jim Baldwin, 44, shot in his upper left thigh at point-blank range, lay bleeding to death nearby.
The shooting had happened 100 feet or so from Linda Baldwin’s place in a house that sits a block up Berkner Avenue past the Kitchen Pride Food Store, which faces the intersection of Columbus Road and Mercer University Drive on the western edge of Macon’s Unionville neighborhood.
The house where Jim Baldwin was shot, at 1516 Berkner, had been the site of a late-night gathering. A handful of friends were drinking beer, smoking weed, playing cards.
This week, prosecutors and witnesses in the murder trial of Tirell Darnell Mitchell, 27, suggested that Mitchell may have been angry that night after finding his girlfriend hanging out with Jim Baldwin and the others. But what exactly triggered the gunfire is not clear.
In court on Thursday, a day after eyewitnesses put Mitchell at the scene arguing with Jim Baldwin, a Bibb County jury of eight women and four men deliberated for less than 45 minutes before finding Mitchell guilty of murder, aggravated assault and a weapons charge. He will be sentenced Friday.
Mitchell, who chose not to testify, faces life in prison.
The victim, Jim Baldwin, a house painter — one his mother describes as “the greatest painter” — graduated from Northeast High School in the early 1990s and briefly played football at Fort Valley State University.
He was the youngest of five children and a father of three.
Mildred Baldwin, his mother, who in 1972 became one of the first black radio dispatchers at the Macon Police Department, described his death as “very grievous.”
His sister, Linda Baldwin, told The Telegraph that some days she still expects him to come home, to pop in like he often did acting like his old “silly self.”
“He used to work out of town a lot,” Linda Baldwin said, “and because he’s not around, we’ll still say he’s out of town, not dead.”
She added: “We’re still trying to figure out why.”