Boy admits to charges in slaying

A 12-year-old boy who told investigators he fired one of the gunshots in a fatal home invasion admitted Wednesday to committing the criminal acts he is accused of.

Richmond County Juvenile Court Judge Jennifer McKinzie said Coreon A. Jackson admitted to four criminal offenses -- felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and a weapon violation connected to the March 19 shooting death of 65-year-old Roosevelt Cowins.

Because of his age, Coreon's case is in juvenile court instead of adult or Superior Court. Children younger than 13 cannot be prosecuted as adults.

Wednesday's hearing was closed to the public. Judge McKinzie said Coreon's two attorneys, his court-appointed guardian, his grandmother and his mother were present to ensure Coreon fully understood his rights and that he was voluntarily making the admission.

Under juvenile court rules, Coreon can still withdraw his admission and insist on a trial, which has been scheduled for Wednesday. If Coreon chooses to stand on the admission, Judge Pamela James will determine his sentence.

The maximum time he could be confined in a juvenile justice facility is until age 21.

Coreon has been detained since his arrest after Mr. Cowins was shot to death in his Fenwick Street home.

Investigator James Kelly testified at earlier hearings that Coreon told detectives he went to Mr. Cowins' home with Willie H. Casey to collect a debt. Investigator Kelly quoted Coreon as saying Mr. Casey shot Mr. Cowins twice in the back and forced him to shoot Mr. Cowins, too.

Mr. Casey, 21, was found dead, hanging from a bed sheet tied to a ceiling air vent, in a jail cell on March 24.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?

A judge will determine Coreon Jackson's sentence, unless he withdraws his admission and insists on a trial.