Augusta man receives life sentence for murder

Judge orders life without parole for 20-year-old man

A Richmond County Su­per­ior Court jury deliberated several hours over two days before convicting an Augusta man of a murder that occurred when he was 16.

 

William H. Clark, 20, was found guilty Friday in Richmond County Superior Court of felony murder, aggravated assault and two weapon violations.

Calling shooting at three unarmed men “cold-bloodied,” Judge Michael N. Annis sentenced Clark to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 30 years, the maximum possible sentence.

Clark and Jeremiah Kelly, then 15, fired at 30-year-old Anthony King and two of his friends Aug. 3, 2012. King was killed on Crawford Ave­nue.

The two friends of King’s who were with him that night, brothers Anthony and Travis Davis, were shot at but not wounded, they testified.

Defense attorney Jason Hasty portrayed the victims as drunken adult men looking for a fight. They also suspected the teens were responsible for a recent shooting on a friend’s home.

While Hasty contended in closing arguments that there was no evidence Clark had a gun that night or knew Kelly was armed and intended to shoot, Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine noted the Davis brothers’ testimony that Clark had a gun and was shooting at them.

These weren’t two “boys” being stalked by King and his friends, Paine argued; they were two people who wanted to act grown, who carried guns and were willing to use them in what could have been at most a fistfight.

Hasty asked the judge to show Clark mercy by sentencing him to life with the possibility of parole, which would mean 30 years in prison before the parole board would consider his release.

Given the chance to speak after the verdict, King’s mother, Janice Jones, said her smart, sweet, kind and respectful son didn’t get another 30 years to live.

“My son died for no reason at all,” she said.

Clark’s prior criminal history was in juvenile court, where he was twice committed to the Department of Juve­nile Justice, Paine said. His juvenile offenses began when he was 12.

Kelly was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 55 years for murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three weapon violations.

Murder trial for Augusta teen Jeremiah Kelly set to begin
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