Ex-UGA football player sentenced to 30 years in clerk’s shooting

Former University of Georgia football player Ahkil Crumpton

Credit: Philadelphia Police Department

Credit: Philadelphia Police Department

Former University of Georgia football player Ahkil Crumpton

Almost three years after a store clerk was killed at an Oconee County gas station, his alleged killer has learned part of his own fate.

Former University of Georgia football player Ahkil Nasir Crumpton was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison without parole after being convicted of one count of interference with commerce by attempted robbery and one count of giving a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia. The Philadelphia man is accused of using that gun to kill 23-year-old Elijah James Wood when he attempted to rob a RaceTrac outside of Watkinsville on March 19, 2021.

The 26-year-old has not yet been tried for allegedly killing Wood. That will happen in an Oconee County court, where Crumpton faces murder and other state charges.

“Ahkil Crumpton’s violent crime ended Elijah Wood’s young life and has been the cause of immeasurable pain to many people in the Oconee County community and beyond,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a statement. “Local, state and federal agencies have worked tirelessly to seek justice on behalf of Elijah. Our hope is the conclusion of the federal case offers some peace for all those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

Crumpton, who played wide receiver for UGA in 2017 and 2018, was a student until 2021 but did not graduate.

The night Wood was killed, officials said he was covering the graveyard shift for a sick coworker and was alone at the gas station when Crumpton walked in wearing a mask. The suspect pointed a Glock 19 pistol at Wood, “firing one round at close range ... striking him in the chest,” according to prosecutors.

At trial, Wood’s girlfriend testified that she was on a FaceTime call with him at the time. He died at the scene.

After the shooting, Crumpton ran out of the store without taking any money or merchandise and went home, officials said. At the time, he still lived with a teammate, who testified at trial that he was “visibly upset, saying, ‘I didn’t mean to do it — I just wanted the money, I just shot him at the store, at the store.’”

Prosecutors said Crumpton also told the roommate that when he pointed the gun it “just went off.”

Months later, Crumpton became a suspect in another deadly shooting in Philadelphia. While Crumpton was found to have been justified in that shooting and does not face charges, investigators were able to forensically match the shell casings from that crime scene to the ones at the RaceTrac.

In March 2022, federal agents arrested Crumpton in Philadelphia on murder warrants out of Oconee County. At the time, he tried to escape by jumping out of his bedroom window but was taken into custody by an FBI SWAT team.

While searching his bedroom, federal agents said they found the Glock 19 pistol inside Crumpton’s official 2018 Rose Bowl game backpack.

After serving his 30-year sentence, Crumpton will have to spend three years on supervised release.

“Crumpton’s crime was senseless, tragic and irreversible,” said Robert Gibbs, senior supervisory resident agent of FBI Atlanta’s Athens office. “This sentencing reflects the commitment of the FBI to working with our law enforcement partners to hold violent offenders accountable to (the) greatest extent the law allows. We hope that Elijah Wood’s family can find some sense of healing and justice in this sentence.”