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Felon convicted of killing best friend in botched drug deal in Atlanta

A seven-time felon was sentenced to life in prison plus five years for a botched drug deal that killed his best friend nearly two years ago, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. 

Cornelius Edwards, 28, did not fire the gun that killed his friend Billy Favors, but he was the mastermind behind the plan that led to the fatal shooting, Fulton district attorney spokesman Chris Hopper said. 

Edwards was found guilty of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the December 2016 shooting. 

RELATED: 1 killed, 1 shot in northwest Atlanta

Favors and Edwards, a known marijuana dealer, conspired to rob two men — Marvin Goodman and Delvin Phillips — at gunpoint, Hopper said. 

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Edwards instructed Goodman and Phillips to go to an apartment in the 300 block of Holly Street in northwest Atlanta, where they thought they were buying marijuana. Instead, the two walked inside and saw Favors aiming a gun at them. 

Phillips then pulled out his gun and got into a shootout with Favors, Hopper said. Phillips was shot twice in the arm and chest, but he survived. Favors was also shot in the chest and arm and died at the scene. 

During a photo lineup, Goodman and Phillips positively identified Edwards, who was later recorded during a phone conversation with one of Favors’ relatives admitting he concocted the plan. 

Although Edwards did not shoot Favors, under Georgia law he can be charged with murder since he committed a felony that led to another person’s death. 

“Edwards intentionally participated in this crime by his planning of the armed robbery and his directing of Goodman and Philips to the apartment,” Hopper said. 

At the time of the murder, Edwards had 16 prior arrests and was previously convicted of theft by taking, theft by receiving, burglary and the purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of marijuana, the Fulton District Attorney’s Office said. Favors also had seven felony convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine and theft by shoplifting.

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