Fulton DA says kidnapper-killers need to die for lifetimes of mayhem

Friday, District Attorney Paul Howard announced a big decision to seek the death penalty for the two men accused of kidnapping and murdering a man and his pregnant fiance.

ABOUT THE SUSPECTS

• Andre Gay and Richard Wilson were both indicted Friday with the murder of Briana Brooks and Jeronta Brown. Both men are in custody.

• Both men have served prison time for homicides committed in 1990.

• Each man also is considered a suspect in other murders.

Andre Gay pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of Cathy Dozier, 39, and Michael Broughton, 17 months. On Nov. 23, 1990, Gay and an accomplice went on an armed robbery spree in the McDaniel Glenn housing projects. Dozier observed them as she was leaving a neighbor's apartment. As she hurried back inside, Gay fired shots through the door, fatally shooting the baby in the head. Dozier was shot in the leg and later died. Gay served 23 years in prison. He was paroled in January 2014.

Gay is a suspect in the Aug. 10, 1990 killing of Kenneth Ellison, 35, who was found fatally shot in the stomach at Whitehall Terrace in Atlanta's Mechanicsville neighborhood a short time after the two men had fought. Witnesses identified Gay as the shooter.

Richard "Fathead" Wilson pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery for the April 1991 shooting of Kenneth Martin, 23, who was shot to death in a car in Atlanta. Wilson and accomplices were randomly robbing residents of Bowen Homes when Martin saw them. He was shot as he attempted to drive away. Wilson served 11 years of a 20-year sentence and was paroled in 2002.

Wilson has been indicted in the Jan. 8 shooting death of Fikree Jordan, 37, who died after being shot in the neck and chest on Tuskegee Street. Officials say bad blood over a drug deal appears to be the motive.

Source: Fulton County District Attorney's office

Andre Cleveland Gay and Richard “Fathead” Wilson killed and killed again on their own before coming together to commit the cold-blooded execution of a man and his pregnant fiancee that prosecutors hope will put them on death row, authorities said Friday.

In announcing his decision to seek the death penalty, District Attorney Paul Howard said the two men killed at least seven people in Fulton County alone. Atlanta police expect to tie more unsolved murders to the two men.

“This investigation is far from over — we still have a lot of work to do,” said the Capt. Paul Guerrucci , commander of APD’s homicide squad, said at a news conference

Guerrucci was mum about when police believe the two men partnered up but said detectives were following up leads regarding other killings the men might have committed.

Howard cited the numbers — as well the premeditated brutality of the latest double homicide and kidnapping for ransom in August — for why the two men warrant the death penalty.”We have not seen a case like this one,” he said.

Gay, 40, had been paroled in January for another double murder, including a 17-month-old boy, in 1990; Wilson, 41, who had been paroled twice since pleading guilty in 1991 to manslaughter and armed robbery, had gotten out of prison in May 2013 on a firearms charge. He is also charged with murdering a man in drug-deal dispute in January.

» TIMELINE: Key dates in Richard "Fathead" Wilson's criminal history

Howard made the announcement in a room crowded with family members of the victims. Most were related to Jeronta Brown, 23, and Briana Brooks, 21, the DeKalb couple who were killed when a ransom was not paid.

The couple was kidnapped just after midnight Aug. 30 in DeKalb County because Gay and Wilson believed their relatives were flush with cash from an insurance settlement, Howard said. The couple was shot a few hours later in northwest Atlanta and found handcuffed together about 6 a.m. Brown was dead but Brooks was alive. She died at the hospital after her baby was saved.

“It is overwhelming that so many people are affected by two individuals who really don’t care about life — that is pretty obvious,” said Sadria Strong, Brooks mother.”My daughter was seven months pregnant, handcuffed and gasping for air to save her baby. That is how strong she was.”

She said the “miracle” baby, Kaylie, was doing well but still hospitalized after being born 2-months premature. Brooks also had a 1-year-old daughter Kylie and 2-year-old son, Eric. The boy is counseling, Strong said.

Gay served 23 years of a life sentence for the murder of a woman and 17-month-old Michael Broughton in a Mechanicsville housing project. Gay fired through an apartment door after Cathy Dozier, 39, fled back inside when after spotted him an an accomplice who were robbing people in the complex in November 1990.

Witnesses have since identified him as the killer of 35-year-old Kenneth Ellison three months before killing Dozier and the child in 1990, although he is not yet indicted, Howard said.

Howard said the terms of Gay’s parole said he was to be electronically monitored — which Howard said he mistakenly thought meant wearing an GPS-ankle bracelet, to monitor his movements. “Apparently he only had to call in,” Howard said.

Wilson was paroled after 11 years of a 20-year sentence he got for pleading guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery. He shot to death Kenneth Martin in the Bowen Homes housing project in 1991. Wilson and his crew were randomly robbing residents when the 23-year-old tried to escape by driving away.

In 2008, he got arrested on firearms charges in 2008, which kept him in federal prison until May 2013, Howard said.

Seven months later Wilson killed Fikree Jordan, 37, shooting him in the chest and neck, because of bad blood over a drug deal, Howard said. Wilson absconded from the federal halfway house he was living in at the time of the killing and was on the run when he and Gay kidnapped Brooks and Brown, Howard said.

Several family members said they were glad Howard was seeking the death penalty. Fulton’s top prosecutor has had mixed results in seeking the ultimate punishment but especially in recent years has succeeded in getting it in five trials, most of which involved brutal slayings of women or children.

On Friday, friends and family, however, focused on the closure they were getting from the arrests while coming to grips with how little the justice system had protected them. Beverly Fowler noted her gratitude for Atlanta police who within 29 days had identified and tracked down the suspected killers of a random crime — never an easy task.

But she also noted she had been left stunned on learning the extent of their lifetimes of mayhem. She motioned to the pictorial exhibit displaying 24 years of victims at the front of the room.

“You are happy they are caught but then you get hit by what else they have done” Fowler said. “There are a lot of faces on that board. I didn’t have a clue.”

She paused. “I’m going to hope justice does come…Obviously it failed us before because they got out.”

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