Trial set for accused killer of boy walking to Central High. He faces life plus 295 years

Jury selection began here Monday in a murder trial involving the shooting death of a 16-year-old Central High School student who was gunned down while he was walking to school one morning nearly two years ago.

The death of Jayvon Malik Sherman in October 2017 prompted a vigil and a nearly two-week hunt for his killer.

Sherman was walking past the old Winship Elementary School on Beech Avenue the morning of Oct. 19, 2017, when he was confronted by a gunman and shot in the chest, the authorities have said. The shooting happened just east of Pio Nono Avenue, a few blocks from Central High.

Sherman’s alleged killer, Wesley Jamison Holt, 19 at the time and an alleged gang member, was jailed 12 days later on Halloween and within a few days was charged with murder.

Prosecutors have offered Holt a plea deal that would require him to serve at least 30 years in prison for the murder charge plus as much as 20 more on a gang-crime charge. Holt has declined the offer.

If convicted of all charges at trial, he faces a maximum of life in prison without parole plus an additional 295 years for a string of charges that include gang activity and aggravated assault.

Holt is also accused of trying from behind bars in the county jail to, by phone, influence one of the state’s key witnesses, a teen who is said to have placed Holt at the murder scene.

Testimony was expected to begin Tuesday.

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Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.