DA won’t seek death penalty in Clark Atlanta student murder case

Barron Brantley (left) and Jordyn Jones (PHOTO: Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

The suspects accused of killing a Clark Atlanta University student won’t face the death penalty if convicted, the Fulton County District’s Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Jordyn Jones, 22, and Barron Brantley, 21, are charged with murder in the Oct. 31 death of Alexis Crawford. Crawford, 21, was a Clark Atlanta senior and lived with Jones in an off-campus apartment.

Crawford’s family reported her missing on Nov. 1, launching a week-long search to find the Athens native. Investigators now believe Crawford was dead before she was reported missing.

On Nov. 8, Brantley admitted to investigators that he had choked and killed her, according to court documents. Crawford’s body was found the same day at a DeKalb County park, Atlanta police said. Both Brantley and his girlfriend, Jones, were arrested and charged with murder.

During a November court hearing, Atlanta Police Department Detective Mike Young testified that Brantley said he had choked Crawford after she and Jones got into a fight.

Atlanta police believe an alleged rape is the main motive behind her killing.

“He admitted to choking Ms. Crawford,” Young said. “While he was choking Ms. Crawford, Ms. Jones put a plastic bag over her head.”

On Friday, a Fulton grand jury indicted the suspects on two counts of felony murder as well as one count each of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and concealing the death of another, the DA’s office said. Brantley also was indicted on one count of aggravated sodomy for allegedly sexually assaulting Crawford five days before her death, according to a spokesman for the DA’s office.

Jones and Crawford had previously been close friends, Crawford’s family said. Jones, a Michigan native, had spent holidays with the Crawford family.

>> RELATED: "Her light shall never go out": Hundreds attend vigil for Alexis Crawford

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On Oct. 26, Brantley was with the roommates in their McDaniel Street apartment and the three consumed alcohol, according to police reports. The following day, Crawford reported to police that Brantley had assaulted her.

Afterward, Crawford and Jones weren’t on speaking terms, Jones later told police. On the night of Oct. 30, Crawford asked Jones to take her on a late-night trip for alcohol, and Jones obliged, she told authorities.

Back at the apartment, there was a physical fight and Crawford was killed. Jones initially denied having any knowledge of her roommate’s whereabouts.

Crawford’s death made national headlines. Hundreds of mourners traveled to Athens to attend her funeral, which was live-streamed online. Two busloads of Clark Atlanta students and faculty made the trip from Atlanta. The funeral included remarks from the Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz, Clark Atlanta University President George T. French and Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts.

Jones and Crawford remained late Monday in the Fulton jail, where they are being held without bond.

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