Victim’s mom prays for capture of East Atlanta Village killing suspect

Beth Newton's son is gone, gunned down, according to police, while trying to stop an intruder in his East Atlanta Village apartment.

At her home in Thomson, outside Augusta, the mother can still close her eyes and picture the boy beaming with pride over triumphs in sport and life. Picture him getting his Eagle Scout pin at 17. Picture him turning heads as tennis player in high school. Picture him being just Alex Newton, the friendly outdoorsman and fun "kid in an adult body."

It is bad enough he is gone, at just 30 years old. To make it worse, the mother has lived the past seven days with knowledge that the accused killer is still wanted, even after police released surveillance footage of him.

“I'm praying every day...” Beth Newton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “He needs to be in jail.

"I'm not trying to sound vengeful. But there’s consequences.”

As hard as the last week has been, the mother has taken comfort in the flood of public support.

In a matter of days, some 400 people pitched in more than $32,000 online to increase the reward in the case. Neighbors at the victim's complex, Alexan EAV on Metropolitan Boulevard, have rallied to increase security.

On Thursday night, neighbors, friends and family — including the mother — plan to hold vigil in Alex Newton's name. The event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the lot next to Argosy on Flat Shoals Avenue.

The organizer didn't even know the victim.

"We’re overwhelmed," Beth Newton said. "We’re amazed. We’re very humbled."

A driver in the amount of attention the death has drawn is the fact that East Atlanta Village is, compared to other areas of the city, considered safer. Residents in Alexan EAV had raised to complex management concerns about security in the weeks leading up to the burglary turned homicide.

Beth Newton, an Atlanta native who moved toward Augusta and worked for 30 years as a teacher there, had been concerned about her son living in the city.

She felt better knowing her son, Trey, who worked with Alex in construction, was also in Atlanta.

Now, she has the picture in her mind of her son fighting with the intruder. Police have said he walked in on the man in the apartment, leading to an altercation, followed by gunshots.

"You always think, if he had just turned and ran, he would be here today," the mother said. "But I cannot live in what-ifs. That could consume you.”

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She knows he was doing what he thought was right, and she wonders if he thought his significant other, Sarah, was there and in danger.

Instead of worrying about what could've been, Beth Newton is resolved to celebrate her son and see that his death, though senseless and cruel, has a purpose.

She, along with her son's neighbors, want to see to it that security is strong at the complex.

“I don’t want anybody else to have to go through this.”

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Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police or contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, text information to 274637 or visit crimestoppersatlanta.org. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.