Atlanta man sentenced to life plus 45 years for 2014 murder

James Hightower

James Hightower

An Atlanta man who police said fired into a car after a drug deal, killing a man and seriously wounding another was convicted Friday.

A jury took only 27 minutes to convict James Hightower of the 2014 murder of Anthony Bowers, according to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. He was also convicted of three counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Fulton police officers found two men, both of whom had been shot, inside a car when they responded to a call about a shooting near the intersection of Old Bill Cook and Godby roads in College Park, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

The driver, 21-year-old Bowers, had been fatally shot and a passenger, 21-year-old Demetrius Cosby, sustained multiple gunshot wounds, which the district attorney’s office said occured during a drug deal.

“As they waited in their vehicle, Hightower approached the vehicle to meet with the deceased,” the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office wrote in a statement. “After the deceased handed Hightower what is believed to be crack-cocaine, Hightower fired multiple gunshots from a 9mm handgun into the vehicle.”

Authorities said Bowers tried to drive away during the gunfire, but he was struck several times and crashed the car into a tree across the street. Despite attempts by the two passengers to “play dead,” Hightower fired several more shots into the crashed car, striking Cosby, who is now paraplegic, the DA’s office said.

Fulton County Senior Superior Court Judge Stephanie B. Manis sentenced Hightower to life in prison plus 45 years.