DeKalb man says he was ‘playing’ with gun when he killed girlfriend

DeKalb man says he was ‘playing’ with gun when he killed girlfriend

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DeKalb County Sheriff's Office
Carl Williams (left) and Donjinae Jackson-Neals

Detective D.R. Ward was on the witness stand, telling of the grim scene found at Donjinae Jackson-Neals’ apartment when he had to stop.

“She was covered in blood. Her head was covered in blood. And there was also blood splattered,” he said Thursday, pausing as gasps rose from the DeKalb County courtroom gallery.

Several of the victim’s family members burst into tears. 

A deputy asked them to stay quiet, if they could. “I know it’s hard,” he said.

Ward continued: “There was blood splattered on the walls.”

He said the man who’d shot 21-year-old Jackson-Neals dead was her 23-year-old boyfriend Carl Williams. Williams dialed 911 about 30 minutes after the Dec. 2 shooting on Glen Hollow Lane.

Before detectives charged him with murder, Williams said he and the girlfriend each had been holding handguns, hers pink, his black. He allegedly said they were “playing.”

Williams put one of the 9mms to her face.

“He said he was showing her some self-defense tactics in case she was to get robbed one day,” Ward testified.

Williams said the weapon was about five inches from her face and he accidentally pulled the trigger when she tried to slap it away.

She fell, shot in the head.

Seated next to his attorney in court, Williams dabbed tears from his cheeks with a tissue from a deputy.

The detectives who took Williams’ statement felt he was lying. They also found inconsistencies, such as a burn mark on the victim’s face, which suggested the barrel of the gun had been placed to her skin, not five inches away, the detective said.

Two neighbors also said they heard a struggle in the apartment around the time of the shooting.

Defense attorney Eric Fortas asked the judge to consider knocking the malice murder charge down to involuntary manslaughter. He said the state had no evidence of malice, especially considering that a witness who’d been in the apartment had recently come forward to corroborate Williams’ story about playing with the gun.

“The state’s definitely got some problems with malice,” Judge Richard Foxworth said. 

But he found enough probable cause for the state to continue with the case as charged.

Williams hung his head before returning to his holding cell.

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