Man sentenced to life without parole in killing of 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie

A man convicted of killing 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie in Buckhead in 2020 expressed remorse over the fatal shooting Monday before he was sentenced to life without parole.

Daquan Reed was convicted of murder, three counts of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property in the first degree, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Maxie’s death outside Phipps Plaza.

He was sentenced to life without parole plus 15 years. Reed’s attorney, Nicole Fegan, said they will file a motion for a new trial within 30 days.

During the sentencing hearing, Reed acknowledged the severity of his crimes and asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Emily Richardson to consider a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

“To the Maxie family, I know you might hate me and might not care what I have to say. I want to tell you I’m truly sorry for your loss,” Reed said through Zoom. “My heart hurts for the Maxie family.”

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Richardson acknowledged Reed’s remorse but said it was the first time Reed had done so throughout the trial. She said the case has been “very emotional” on both sides.

“He showed no remorse during trial. He showed no remorse even after being convicted,” Richardson said before the sentencing. “I understand his expressions of remorse now, but taking into consideration his actions that led to this murder and his action after the murder, his actions during trial and his action after the conviction, I don’t find that mercy is merited in this case.”

Richardson said Reed had to appear from the Fulton County Jail due to concerns being raised over safety. The judge said Reed’s grandmother, in a phone call with him, had made threats of committing violence during the sentencing hearing, to which Reed laughed.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Kennedy was shopping with her mother and aunt when she was struck by a bullet Dec. 21, 2020, while sitting in the backseat of her aunt’s car. She died the day after Christmas.

Prosecutors argued that Reed was enraged after being robbed in the parking lot of Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps.

Reed left the scene, got rid of the gun and told people not to talk to police, prosecutors said. He was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service in Virginia.

Kennedy’s family gave victim impact statements during the hearing and spoke about their grief. Her aunt, Whitney Maxie, said the family is stuck in a new “reality” due to Reed’s blatant disregard for human life.

Kennedy’s grandmother, Carmella Crudup, said Christmas was the girl’s favorite holiday and that she even enjoyed it more than her birthday. Crudup said Christmas has now become a dreadful day for the family.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Mariah Maxie, Kennedy’s mother, recounted how every Sunday since her daughter’s death she has the same morning routine of visiting her daughter’s grave and talking to her.

“Before I leave, I whisper to my daughter, hopeful that she can hear me, ‘I wish we could be together,’” she said. “That’s what my life has been reduced to, breakfast at a cemetery on Sunday mornings.”

ExploreVerdict reached in 2020 shooting death of 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie

Maxie said she made a commitment to her daughter, just five months after she was born, that she was going to work hard and make sure to provide for her. Now, she feels it was all a waste.

“On December 21, 2020, in a matter of milliseconds, the life I worked so hard to build for my daughter was destroyed,” she said. “None of what I accomplished or achieved for her mattered or matters anymore. I regret every second that I prioritize work or school because they took me away from her.”

Before Reed was sentenced, Maxie and the rest of the family implored Richardson to sentence him to life without parole. Maxie said her daughter was a good person and that she would do anything to get her justice.

“I hope she sees that mommy would go to the ends of the Earth, I would sit uncomfortably and in pain in any courtroom across this galaxy to fight for justice and to ensure that the person who hurt her and stole her from me is held accountable for their actions,” she said.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Maxie’s death came at the end of a deadly and violent year in Atlanta. Authorities investigated 157 cases in 2020, which at the time was the most since 1996.

Just months before, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was killed when shooters fired into her mother’s vehicle on July 4. Two people, Jerrion McKinney and Julian Conley, face charges in Turner’s death.

The sentencing comes just days after 7-year-old Ava Phillips was shot and killed at a family gathering at the Camden Vantage Apartments in northeast Atlanta. Kemeka Springfield has already been arrested, while authorities are looking for Deshon Collins.

“Gun violence must end. It’s very hard to hear innocent children die. This has to change,” Angel Wise, Kennedy’s grandmother, said Monday.