Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before finding a Macon man guilty of murder and aggravated assault in the fatal shooting of a mourner at a wake on Frederica Place.
Quinton Jones, 39, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the Aug. 4, 2013, killing of Steven Johnson.
Johnson’s mother, two brothers, daughter and aunt addressed the judge before Jones was sentenced.
Both brothers urged Judge Howard Simms to “stick it” to Jones.
Moments later, Simms said, “Killing somebody is bad enough, Mr. Jones. Going to a sittin’ up with the expressed purpose of killing somebody makes you the poster child for (someone having) an abandoned and malignant heart.”
Friends and family had gathered to mourn the death of Sandra Moore Maloy’s father, Maloy said during the sentencing.
Johnson, who shared a child with Lechelle Moore, granddaughter of the man being mourned at the wake, had showed up to pay his respects, Maloy said.
Maloy said Jones must have misunderstood why Johnson was there and become angry.
Jones, who also had dated Moore, had been banned from the house, she said.
Moore testified Tuesday that she left the wake after arguing with Jones, and he followed her to a nearby store.
While there, Jones told her that she wasn’t going to be with Johnson that night, Moore said. Jones followed her back to the wake where another argument led to the shooting.
In closing arguments Thursday morning, attorney Bobby Bearden told jurors his client shot Johnson in self-defense.
“Quinton Jones did what he did because he felt he had to to save his life,” Bearden said.
Prosecutor John Regan said evidence in the case shows Jones argued with Johnson, shot him and returned moments later to fire two gunshots into his head.
“Steven never had a gun,” Regan said.
Although Bearden argued Johnson fired a gun at Jones first, Regan reminded jurors of testimony from a firearms expert who said all the bullets and shell casings recovered came from the same gun.
Bearden asked jurors to consider whether someone could have removed a gun from Johnson’s body before police arrived.
But Regan contended there’s no evidence that happened.
Bearden painted Johnson as the aggressor in the argument, but Regan said “Steven never made any threats” against Jones.
Police didn’t search for bullets or shell casings outside, which would have been possible evidence of Johnson firing at Jones, Bearden said. No tests were run to check for Johnson’s DNA or fingerprints on the shell casings, he said.
Regan said Jones has a lengthy criminal record dating back to a 1994 aggravated assault conviction. He’s also been convicted of a drug offense and breaking into a car.
As a convicted felon, he shouldn’t have had a gun, Regan said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.