It was to be Aeman Presley’s last moment in the spotlight, and he dressed for the occasion, shedding a orange prison jumper for a charcoal suit.
The failed actor, who moved back to Atlanta from Los Angeles in late 2014 and embarked on a killing spree that claimed the lives of a Smyrna hairdresser and three homeless men, was expected to plead guilty but mentally ill on Monday in Fulton County Superior Court to two of those murders, avoiding a possible death sentence.
Presley had accepted a similar plea deal six months ago in DeKalb County, acknowledging he fatally shot 53-year-old Calvin Gholston in September 2014 at a Memorial Drive shopping center and 44-year-old Karen Pearce as she was walking to her car in downtown Decatur. He was sentenced to consecutive life sentences without parole and was facing a third such penalty had he not backed out of the agreement at the last minute.
“That question is still going on in my mind,” Presley, 36, told Fulton Superior Court Judge John Goger during Monday’s hearing. Had he accepted the deal Presley would’ve been returned to prison for good.
Presley then asked the judge if a jury could find him not guilty by reason of insanity. When told they could, he requested more time to speak with his attorneys.
Goger agreed to continue the case for a month so Presley could reconsider all of his options.
“Mr. Presley’s lifelong struggle with mental illness is certainly a factor and we anticipate that he will have a decision for the court within the month,” defense co-counsel Jerilyn Bell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Bell has said that she believes Presley, a father of two, is schizophrenic.
The Chicago native, who moved with his mother to Stone Mountain just before starting high school, is charged with six murder counts and 13 felonies in connection to the deaths of Dorian Jenkins, 42, and Tommy Mims, 68, shot within one November week as they slept on Atlanta’s streets.
Jenkins, who earned the nickname “Sidewinder” because he dragged his foot, was found dead four days before Thanksgiving at the intersection of Courtland Street and Ralph McGill Boulevard. He was wrapped in blankets, concealing the five bullets pumped into his body at close range.
Mims — whose body was discovered Nov. 26 near a recycling center on Whitehall Street, where he took the cans he collected — was shot seven times.
The two homeless men were shot with elongated .45-caliber bullets that were last manufactured in 2010. When Presley was detained after trying to dodge the fare at a downtown Atlanta MARTA station, he was carrying a silver Taurus .45 Colt revolver, fully loaded with five hollow point rounds, and a box containing 27 additional rounds.
Before his sentencing in DeKalb, Presley insisted he was not a serial killer.
“I’m a brother that had some really serious issues and problems who did some things that I’m not proud of today,” he said in June. “What I did was ungodly, unrighteous, dishonorable and plain wrong.”
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