Defendants stole cash from the body of the deceased victim moments after the murder
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER and PARTICIPATION IN CRIMINAL STREET GANG ACTIVITY convictions, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of 21-year-old KAHLIEFF ADAMS and 31-year-old THOMAS COTHRAN.
On January 22, 2016, just before 10:30pm, gang members, Thomas Cothran and Kahlieff Adams went to the Atlanta apartment of 27-year-old Anthony Chalmers, which was located on Lanier Street. Chalmers allowed Cothran and Adams to enter as they were all longtime acquaintances. Chalmers was inside his apartment with two of his friends, 29-year-old Jonathan Gray and his brother, 27-year-old Baratta Gray. While the group was standing in the kitchen, Cothran ordered Adams and two other unidentified individuals who accompanied the defendants to the apartment, to hold Chalmers, Baratta Gray, and Jonathan Gray, and to shoot them if they moved. Chalmers subsequently moved, and the men shot Chalmers, Baratta Gray, and Jonathan Gray. Chalmers died at the scene, and the other two men were writhing on the floor in pain and subsequently rushed to Grady. The Gray brothers both survived.
Prior to the shooting, a witness who was right outside the small apartment heard one of the defendants say to the victims,
“Don’t do it, or I’m going to shoot you”
Before leaving the apartment, Cothran, Adams, and the other two unidentified men stole marijuana and from inside the apartment, as well as thousands of dollars from Chalmers’ pockets. Investigators who responded to the scene recovered a total of fourteen shell casings, from four different guns. The surviving victims were able to identify Cothran. The defendant was arrested by the Atlanta Police Fugitive Unit on April 1, 2016, at a hotel in Decatur. Inside the room, they found a 9mm pistol with an extended magazine, a .380 pistol, and a .22 pistol.
While in the Fulton County Jail, Cothran made calls to Adams warning him to leave the area because the surviving victims knew who they were. Adams was later identified by Baratta Gray and subsequently arrested by Atlanta Police. Meanwhile, during his incarceration at the Fulton County Jail, Cothran composed a handwritten letter and sent it to Baratta Gray, urging him to recant. Cothran wrote,
“Do the right thing, you know what happens to snitches.”
Prior to committing this horrific crime, both men had previously been arrested. Adams had been arrested on prior charges. However, Cothran had been arrested 13 times.
COTHRAN and ADAMS were convicted of MURDER, FELONY MURDER, PARTICIPATION IN CRIMINAL STREET GANG ACTIVITY, HOME INVASION (1ST DEGREE), ARMED ROBBERY, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, AGGRAVATED BATTERY, BURGLARY, POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY, AND POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON.
Adams and Cothran were sentenced to
Life without the Possibility of Parole Plus 55 years.
Senior Judge Grant Brantley, of the Superior Court of Cobb County, presided over the case. Deputy District Attorney Adam Abbate led the prosecution of the case. He was assisted by Assistant District Attorney Danielle Douglas, Senior Investigator Michael Green, and Victim-Witness-Advocate Millicent Taylor of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective J. Golphin from the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in this case.