Stephon Morton was a 24-year-old aspiring photographer, not a crook, relatives told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
They were responding to statements in a DeKalb County police document that identified him as an accomplice to a man who was trying to steal an ATV. The warrant said Juwan Sanchez Ridley, 24, was trying to steal the 4-wheeler from an unknown person in the Candler Road-I-20 area on Aug. 4, and Morton was shot in the process.
Relatives who spoke with the AJC said they believe he knew nothing of any robbery, even if it turns out he was with Ridley at the time.
“He’s not that type of person at all,” sister Sylvia Minton said. She said her brother was headed home from Zone 6 Day, a back to school event in Kirkwood’s Coan Park that had ended in gunfire.
Morton’s father, who is also named Stephon Morton, said he’s heard different stories about what happened and it’s clear all the facts about the shooting aren’t known. But he can’t fathom his son would be involved in a plot to rob someone.
Ridley told police the ATV rider shot Morton, but the detective noted it wasn’t clear if the gunshot came from the ATV rider or if Ridley accidentally shot his partner, the warrant said.
Despite the confusion, Ridley is charged with felony murder, which only requires that a defendant commits a felony — such as armed robbery — that causes a death.
The ATV rider apparently left the scene.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.