A Columbus man charged with botched robbery in 2019 appears before the Supreme Court

COLUMBUS, Georgia (WRBL) – A Columbus man charged with the shooting death of Jaylin Williams in a botched robbery in 2019 appeared before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Gerald Wayne Reed, one of four originally charged with murder, faced Supreme Court Justice John Martin, who was convicted under an agreement struck by former District Attorney Mark Jones’ office nearly three years ago.

The current prosecutor in Reed’s case, District Attorney Lewis Lamb for the Southwest Georgia Circuit, had to try the case based on Reed’s plea agreement. Lamb says he would have taken the deal off the table and charged Reed with the Williams murder if he had found a legal way to quash the plea.

“The agreement had already been reached. It was already done. Pledges to dismiss certain allegations had already been made. In fact, I built in a forbearance that I wouldn’t have agreed to,” Lewis said.

Martin told Reed he was on hiatus. The judge said that following the Aug. 1 conviction of Jordan Seldon in Williams’ murder, he was “99 percent certain” that Reed would also have been convicted of the most serious charge.

Lewis further explained his reasons for not putting Reed on the witness stand, stating that Reed was not credible because he orchestrated the robbery that led to the murder. Part of the deal was for Reed to testify truthfully.

The judge determined that the state had nothing in the deal because Reed did not testify.

After three long years of waiting for justice for those accused of taking her son’s life, Angel King said she hoped Reed would receive the maximum sentence for his crime.

“It won’t stop. It won’t get any better. So if you give him his time, I ask you to remember what’s going on in Columbus, Georgia. It’s not going to stop, we have to rely on you to stop it.”

Martin told King he wished he had an answer for her.

“I think madam there is no answer,” the judge said. “I don’t think God will give you an answer as to why this happened, other than that people care so little about human life and human dignity that they are willing to take it from someone with a gun. They don’t care who it is. That’s the answer if you want to know the truth.”

Reed was sentenced to serve the maximum sentence; 25 years in prison.

King had difficulty with the outcome of Reed’s trial simply because of the personal relationship involved in the case.

“And to find out that your mother took care of my two children – Bart and my daughter,” King told the court during the victim’s testimony. “You and your brothers played little league ball with my baby. And finding out that you grow up and turn into that.”

During his sentencing hearing, Reed begged the victim’s mother for forgiveness after making a decision that cost someone else’s life.

“One day I can tell you that when this higher power is allowed to unleash its power, you will forgive me,” Reed said. “The person you see, I was never raised like this.”

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

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