Defendant shot victim multiple times while he sat in the front seat of his vehicle
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of 49-year-old JOE RAYTON.
On May 20, 2016, Joe Rayton left his home in Ellenwood, Georgia with a bag that contained a firearm, a wallet, and a mason jar filled with marijuana. Darrius “Dread” Winfield drove the defendant’s vehicle and Rayton’s son, Joe “Man Man” Adams also rode in the vehicle as a passenger. The three men arrived at a location along Elmwood Road in Atlanta at 1:28 am.
The victim, 29-year-old Antonio Ladson, was sitting in the front seat of his vehicle and talking on the phone, outside the home when the three men arrived. Shortly after their arrival, the defendant, Rayton, exited his vehicle and walked to the driver’s side of Ladson’s vehicle. There was a short conversation and moments later, Rayton threw the mason jar filled with marijuana at Ladson, as a method of distraction, and fired multiple shots in the victim’s direction. Ladson was struck four times in the chest and legs. The victim attempted to crawl into the backseat, to get away from the defendant, but Rayton continued to fire his .40 caliber handgun. Ladson was struck several more times in the lower back and buttock. In total, the victim was shot six times, and he died at the scene.
Rayton returned to his vehicle and fled the scene with his son and the driver. Rayton’s motivation for the shooting centered around the actions of his son, Joe “Man Man” Rayton, days earlier. The defendant’s son stole $100 worth of money and drugs. Rather than re-paying his son’s debts, Rayton decided to murder Ladson instead.
When Rayton returned to Ellenwood, Georgia around 5:00am, the morning of the murder, he met his wife at a gas station. The son, “Man Man” handed Mrs. Rayton the murder weapon and told her to get rid of it. Instead, Rayton’s wife kept the weapon and did not tell anyone about it until January 27, 2017. The friend that she told about the handgun provided it to Atlanta Police Detective S. Benton, and it ultimately matched the ballistics found at the murder scene.
RAYTON was convicted of MURDER, FELONY MURDER, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF A FELONY, and POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON.
Rayton will be sentenced on May 20, 2019, at 1:00pm.
He will ultimately be sentenced to
Life Without the Possibility of Parole Plus 15
Judge Rachel Krause, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Senior Assistant District Attorney Johnquel Neal led the prosecution of the case. She was assisted by Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Kevin McMurry, Investigator James Spivey, and Victim-Witness Advocate Brittney Winley of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Investigator S. Benton from the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in this case.