Defendant hid in the woods waiting for ex-girlfriend and new boyfriend to pass
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of 26-year-old SANCHEZ JAMES.
On June 17, 2017, at approximately 1:15am, Sanchez James, the defendant, hid in a wooded area along Troy Street in his wheelchair while waiting for his former love interest, 39-year-old Keisha Bussey, and her boyfriend, 40-year-old Roderick Billups to pass. As Bussey and Billups approached, James confronted the victims. James began to ask questions about Bussey and Billups relationship. Bussey told James that she had been dating Billups for about a year since breaking up with the defendant. James then brandished a purple .380 handgun that was sitting in his lap and fired multiple shots at Bussey and Billups. Bussey suffered one gunshot wound to the stomach and survived. Billups was struck four times in the arm, head, and back and died at the scene. After shooting Bussey and Billups, James rolled away in his wheelchair.
Atlanta Police Officers arrived on scene to find Billups deceased and Bussey lying on the ground with the gunshot wound to the stomach. There were five .380 shell casings around Billups’ body. One APD Officer canvassed the area and discovered James wheeling away approximately 100 yards from the murder scene. The officer arrested James and then searched a nearby area where he found the purple .380 caliber pistol. The .380 shell casings found near Billups’ body were matched to the .380 pistol located near the defendant at the time of his arrest.
James was in a wheelchair due to paralysis from the waist down as a result of a gunshot wound he received in 2016. Bussey would assist James with his daily routine when the two were dating, but she ended their relationship when she discovered he was communicating with an ex-girlfriend. James has three prior arrests, and in one case, the defendant was arrested for simple battery for striking a previous girlfriend who he believed cheated on him.
JAMES was convicted of MURDER, FELONY MURDER, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, and POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF A FELONY. James was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON.
Senior (Retired) Judge Jerry W. Baxter, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Abbate led the prosecution of the case. He was assisted by Assistant District Attorney DeAndre Royal, Investigators Raymond Baez-Nieves and Fred Glenn, and Victim-Witness-Advocate Jessica Ochei of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective K. Kleinhenz of the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in the case.