Demetric Phillips will never forget the sound of his mother’s scream when she got the call that her son, Antonio Clements, had been murdered.
“I have to live with that scream the rest of my life,” Phillips told a Fulton County courtroom Friday during the sentencing of four people found guilty in his younger brother’s September 2014 murder.
Clements, a father of five, drove into a southwest Atlanta Chevron gas station located at Campbellton and Stanton roads and was immediately met with a barrage of 59 bullets fired from multiple guns. Twenty-seven rounds were fired from an AK-47, the weapon that fired the lethal shot into his neck.
The 29-year-old had been mistaken for a rival gang member.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts this week against Durrell Marco Muse, 29, Tequila Denae Forehand, 31, Darious Harris, 23 and Jujuane Harris, 19 for charges including participation in criminal street gang activity, felony murder and aggravated assault.
Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter, who noted that citizens are “living in a war zone,” sentenced Muse to life without parole; the other three were given life sentences.
Gang Unit Deputy District Attorney Adriane Love said Muse deserved a harsher sentence because he’d been the “most callous” by advancing on Clements’s car, seeking more ammunition shortly after the murder and telling co-conspirators that he killed Clements.
Muse addressed the room before the sentences were handed down, referencing Bible verses and suggesting he didn’t commit “the horrific offense.” Baxter interrupted him.
“Your point is you’re telling me you’re a good person?” he asked.
“Yes,” Muse said.
Muse also claimed he had nothing to do with the murder.
Love hopes the sentences will lend some “peace of mind” to citizens of zone 4, she later told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A few family members also addressed the room, at times fighting back tears or anger.
His brother, Phillips, said Clements was the kind of person who’d give the shirt off his back. He then put down his notes to “speak from the heart,” and talked about how Clements had gotten Phillips involved with spiritual miming at church.
Clements’s mother told the guilty four that their families can visit them in jail, but she can only visit her son at a gravesite.
“I hope they never, ever get out,” she said.
And an aunt said while she doesn’t believe in the death penalty, she hopes the defendants have plenty of time to “sit and think about every bullet.”
Another man involved in the shooting, Frederick Rosenau, will be tried on a separate date and remains in jail on an unrelated murder, the district attorney’s office said.