Man charged in fatal shooting of mother in Atlanta park

Wallace Jerome Ponder was being held without bond Friday at the Fulton County Jail. (Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

caption arrowCaption
Wallace Jerome Ponder was being held without bond Friday at the Fulton County Jail. (Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Jamesha Trammell wanted to help everyone. And she believed she could do it, her family said.

She wanted a better life for herself and her three children. But when she moved from northwest Georgia to Atlanta, she met the man now charged with killing her.

Trammell’s body was found Dec. 16 near an entrance to Anderson Park, according to police. She had been shot and left near a trail, less than two weeks after her 30th birthday.

On Tuesday, 25-year-old Wallace Jerome Ponder was identified as the suspect, according to police. Ponder was arrested Thursday in Gwinnett County and charged with Trammell’s murder. He was being held without bond Friday at the Fulton County Jail.

Trammell’s mother spoke Friday afternoon during a news conference at Atlanta police headquarters.

“That was my baby,” Shawna Brown said. “And the monster that did this to her, I only wish that you will receive Christ into yourself for the things that you did to my baby.”

ExploreFamily wants answers after mother of 3 found shot to death in Atlanta park

A Rome native, Trammell told her family she was ready for a change and wanted to move to Atlanta. Mesha, as her family called her, got a job and moved in with a friend. She hoped to soon be out on her own, with her three young children.

“That’s all she wanted,” an older sister, Lekrysta Trammell, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after her death. “She could’ve stayed in Rome. But she wanted them to have a better school. She wanted different, and she set out for it. She just came in contact with some demons.”

On Friday, Lekrysta Trammell said her family was broken by her sister’s death.

“They broke our family when they took something from us,” she said. “They snatched it and it was personal.”

Mesha loved to sing, made others laugh and was loving, her family said. She was close to her siblings, nieces and nephews, but especially her own children.

“She just came down here and met the wrong person,” her mother said.

caption arrowCaption
Jamesha Trammell, 30, was found shot to death Dec. 16 in an Atlanta park.

Credit: Family photo

Jamesha Trammell, 30, was found shot to death Dec. 16 in an Atlanta park.

Credit: Family photo

caption arrowCaption
Jamesha Trammell, 30, was found shot to death Dec. 16 in an Atlanta park.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Jamesha Trammell’s case was among the 158 homicides investigated by Atlanta police in 2021. She was one of three women found dead in city parks last year, though the cases are believed unrelated.

“Out of my 32 years, one of my worst fears is to lose one of my siblings,” Lekrysta said. “We’re close. I’m a mama bear to all of them.”

Mesha’s roommate told the family that before she was found dead, Mesha and a man had been arguing over a PlayStation. The man told Lekrysta he had given Mesha back the gaming console and that was the last time he saw her.

Among those attending the news conference were Mesha’s three children, ages 5, 7 and 9.

“Words just cannot express what I am feeling right now,” Brown said. “I lost my baby and I am deeply hurt, angry, upset about it. I am upset, but I have to be strong for them.”