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

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Sentencing scheduled to take place in two weeks

The man who prosecutors say fired the stray bullet that killed 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie has been convicted of murder in Fulton County Superior Court.

The jury on Thursday found Daquan Reed guilty on one count of murder, three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of criminal damage to property in the first degree, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Maxie’s death. Sentencing is scheduled for August 29.

“The defendant – like too many people in society today – chose to act out his anger through gun violence, and as a result, an innocent young child lost her life while on a shopping trip with her mother and aunt just a few days before Christmas 2020,” District Attorney Fani Willis said in a statement. “While nothing we do can undo this murder, we worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Kennedy and her family. We hope that this conviction brings some solace to Kennedy’s family and the community that was so deeply hurt by this terrible, senseless tragedy.”

Kennedy was struck by a bullet on Dec. 21, 2020 while riding in the back seat of her aunt’s vehicle. She died the day after Christmas. Prosecutors argued that Reed fired shots from a vehicle because he was enraged he had just been robbed outside Phipps Plaza.

“In a rage over being robbed of his cellphone and money, the defendant, Daquan Reed, a convicted felon, picked up his Glock 9 mm pistol and fired it from the rear passenger seat of a black Acura,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Pat Dutcher said in his opening statement on Friday.

ExploreTrial begins in 2020 shooting death of 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie

The jury heard from multiple witnesses, including Kennedy’s mother, Mariah Maxie, and her aunt, Jade Maxie. The child was in the car with her aunt and mother, stopped at a red light, when shots rang out.

Mariah Maxie said she soon noticed her daughter was not responding. Jade Maxie drove straight to the hospital where Kennedy would die days later.

“I will never forget (that day),” Jade Maxie said. The three had been out shopping on the first day of Kennedy’s winter break from school. Kennedy lived in Cobb County and attended Sedalia Park Elementary School.

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

The trial began Friday with opening statements, however, the case proved to be a pivotal moment in Atlanta, after it took place toward the end of historically deadly year. Authorities investigated 157 cases in 2020, which at the time was the most since 1996.

Kennedy’s death happened a little more than five months after 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed when shooters fired into her mother’s car. Two people, Jerrion McKinney and Julian Conley, face charges in Turner’s death.

ExploreTensions between Atlanta mayor, councilors spill into the open after 7-year-old girl shot

Following Kennedy’s death, then Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement at the time, “Our hearts are broken by the senseless murder of Kennedy. While the Atlanta Police Department has significant leads in the apprehension of those responsible, it does not erase the pain felt when a beautiful, vibrant and loving child is tragically taken from her family.”

Five months later, Bottoms announced she would not seek reelection, and the issue of crime dominated the mayor’s race that followed.