How the AJC covered the Shaquilla Weatherspoon case from "ATL Homicide"

From the archives: Husband was convicted a second time for murder when transcript of first trial was lost
David Quinn and Vince Velazquez are featured in the new TV One crime show "ATL Homicide" debuting July 9, 2018. CREDIT: TV One

David Quinn and Vince Velazquez are featured in the new TV One crime show "ATL Homicide" debuting July 9, 2018. CREDIT: TV One

The third episode of TV One's true-crime series "ATL Homicide" covered the case of Shaquilla Weatherspoon, an employee of the Fulton sheriff's department who was killed in 2002. Her husband Roy L. McKinney was convicted twice of murdering her, after his first conviction was vacated.

Here are some of the key articles covering the case as the AJC reported it over nine years.

"ATL Homicide" recreates Atlanta murder cases as told by David Quinn and Vince Velazquez, two retired Atlanta Police Department homicide detectives. Previous episodes featured the cases of Tereon Grant and Alan Watson.


From June 7, 2002: 

Woman's body found in S. Fulton 

By Saeed Ahmed

Police believe they may have found the body of a part-time Fulton County sheriff's employee reported missing last weekend.

A worker surveying the area near a corporate building on Greenbriar Parkway found the body of a woman about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Decomposition made it difficult for investigators to positively identify the body as that of Shaquilla Weatherspoon, said Atlanta police Sgt. John Quigley.

But police found several items, including an identification card, belonging to her near the body.

Family members said they will provide Weatherspoon's dental records to investigators today to help with the identification.

"The clothing on the body matches what Shaquilla was wearing when she left the house," said Weatherspoon's uncle James Mitchell.

Weatherspoon, 28, has been missing since early Saturday, when she failed to meet a friend after working a night shift monitoring prisoners under treatment at Grady Memorial Hospital, said Sheriff's Department Sgt. Clarence Huber.

Early Thursday morning, police found a white rental car Weatherspoon was driving when she was last seen.

The car was found on Martin Street near Grady. Police said a window had been smashed.

A search warrant was served on Weatherspoon's Harwell Road apartment after the discovery of the body, but police would not comment on what they were looking for.

Quigley said police did not interview anyone at the location and are awaiting medical examiners to determine the cause of death.

Mitchell, however, said the family believes Weatherspoon's disappearance involved foul play.

"When you're dealing with a girl who's really prompt going to and from her job, there's reason for suspicion," Mitchell said.


From Sept. 27, 2003: 

Atlanta Briefs: Man charged with killing wife 

Roy L. McKinney, 31, was charged Friday with the June 1, 2002, killing of his wife, Shaquilla Weatherspoon, 29, a security guard and part-time employee of the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, the Fulton district attorney's office said.

Weatherspoon's body was found June 6, 2002, in a wooded area near an abandoned airline facility on the 3300 block of Greenbriar Parkway in Atlanta. Her body was so badly decomposed investigators could not determine a cause of death.


From Feb. 12, 2005: 

Man proclaims his innocence, sentenced to life for killing wife 

By Beth Warren

An Atlanta man shook and shouted "I didn't do it!" as he was handcuffed and led from the courtroom Friday to begin serving a life sentence for killing his wife.

Prosecutors said Roy McKinney, 33, probably strangled his wife, his high school sweetheart, in June 2002 while their little girl was visiting her grandmother.

The victim, Shaquilla Weatherspoon, 29, was working two jobs to save enough money to leave her abusive husband with their daughter, now 8. Prosecutor David Cooke Jr. argued that McKinney snapped after learning of his wife's plan to leave.

Weatherspoon's decomposed body was found by surveyors on June 6, 2002, in a wooded area near an abandoned Delta Air Lines facility in southwest Atlanta.

McKinney had abused his wife previously, including slamming her head into a wall in front of their daughter. The jury Friday convicted him of first-degree cruelty to children for emotionally abusing the girl, and Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson tacked on an additional five years to McKinney's life sentence.

Weatherspoon had been working full time as a private security guard, sometimes guarding the federal courthouse, and part time for the Fulton County Sheriff's Department guarding inmates who were at Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment.


From April 15, 2011: 

Battle over tape in murder case 

Videotape is of suspect's daughter describing alleged domestic violence. 

By Steve Visser

Fulton County prosecutors want to convict Roy McKinney of murder—again—and they want him to help them do it.

McKinney wants the state Supreme Court to rule he doesn't have to provide the prosecution with a key piece of evidence that ended up in his lawyers' hands.

McKinney, 39, was convicted in 2005 of murdering his wife, Shaquilla Weatherspoon, in what prosecutors contended was a jealous rage.

But his conviction was thrown out because the court staff lost the transcript of his trial, which made it impossible for him to appeal the highly circumstantial case. The staff also lost a videotape in which his then very young daughter described a fight between her mom and dad where McKinney allegedly got physical.

"The defense has an accurate copy of this tape," prosecutor Brett Pinion said. "The defense has no right to hide this evidence."

Prosecutors need the videotape to show McKinney could be violent against his wife, especially since two co-workers with whom she was friendly testified in 2005 that she complained about her husband a lot but never claimed he hit her. Weatherspoon was a guard for the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.

"It is an important piece of evidence," said David Cooke, who prosecuted McKinney in 2005 and now is a prosecutor in Houston County. "If the tape doesn't come in, he could take the stand and say, 'I never laid a hand on her.'"

On Monday, Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson ordered McKinney to hand over the tape but the defense refused, a district attorney's spokeswoman said. Defense lawyer Elizabeth Markowitz is appealing the order to the Georgia Supreme Court.

"All I can say is that the tape supports our belief that the victim was a victim of domestic violence," prosecutor Pinion said.

Attempts to reach Markowitz for comment were unsuccessful.

Tony Axam, one of McKinney's defense lawyers in 2005, said the Supreme Court probably will order the videotape into evidence but the defense might get a break. In the last trial, the tape was played under an exception to the hearsay prohibition that allowed a taped interview of a child about violence in the home.

Axam noted the daughter is now a teenager and, although her memory is likely hazy, could testify.

"We have to be able to cross-examine the witness," he said. "If I'm the Supreme Court, I'm very reluctant to have a nine-year-old video be the basis for the conviction against somebody in a case that is already extremely circumstantial."

In 2005, Cooke contended McKinney murdered the 29-year-old Weatherspoon, his high school sweetheart, because she was unfaithful and was preparing to leave him.

Cooke argued cellphone records proved McKinney knew his wife was dead when he reported her missing on June 2, 2002, because the records showed he called her incessantly but stopped after that date. Her body was found five days later.

Axam argued one of Weatherspoon's boyfriends was just as likely the killer. A detention officer testified that Weatherspoon complained one lover, a married sheriff's deputy, was "real jealous."


From Oct. 1, 2011: 

Atlanta Briefs: Man re-convicted of killing wife 9 years ago 

A jury has found Roy Lewis McKinney guilty of murdering his wife nine years ago, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said.

McKinney, 29, was convicted in 2005 of killing Shaquilla Weatherspoon, 28, but his motion for a new trial was granted because the transcript of that trial disappeared and no record existed for his appeal. Weatherspoon's body was found by land surveyors on June 5, 2002, in a wooded area near Greenbriar Parkway; she had left home four days earlier to attend a party but never returned. —Bill Rankin