Defendant was an Atlanta gang member

Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of 23-year-old DEQAVEON MALCOLM.

On April 7, 2016, 19-year-old James Simmons, the victim, and his friend 21-year-old Trevis Bufford were in a white Nissan Altima stopped at the intersection of Sawtell Avenue SE and Jonesboro Road in Atlanta. Surveillance video from a nearby pawn shop captured a black sedan, with LED lights and a missing front passenger side hubcap, pull up alongside Simmons’ vehicle and stop. Inside that black sedan were Daqaveon Malcolm, the defendant, and his fellow Atlanta gang member, 25-year-old Jamon Freeman. When Malcolm and Freeman stopped next to Simmons’ vehicle, they opened fire with .40 caliber handguns and immediately sped away. Simmons’ Nissan Altima then careened into the nearby pawn shop and crashed into a fixed structure in the parking lot. Bufford, the passenger, was hit twice by gunfire but survived the shooting. Simmons, who was driving the vehicle, died from several gunshot wounds to his torso.

The dispute between the men stemmed from two incidents earlier that day. Bufford had been walking in the area of the Trestletree Apartments in Atlanta when Freeman and Malcolm pistol-whipped him and stole the firearm he was carrying. Following the armed robbery, Simmons and Bufford returned to the apartment complex to look for Malcolm in an attempt to retrieve the stolen gun, but Malcolm was nowhere to be found. At that point, Simmons and Bufford decided to fire shots at a vehicle that belonged to Malcolm’s girlfriend and flee the area. Malcolm and Freeman murdered Simmons minutes after this incident.

Malcolm and Freeman were captured on surveillance video robbing and pistol-whipping Bufford earlier that day. The video was so clear that it allowed Bufford and Union City Police to identify Malcolm and Freeman as the suspects. Phone records placed Malcolm and Freeman at the murder scene, and surveillance video from several different locations showed Malcolm driving the black sedan at various times throughout the day. Police later learned the defendant’s mother owned the vehicle used in the murder of Simmons. Instagram pages for Freeman and Malcolm clearly showed the two men were fellow gang members, and in pictures on Freeman’s Instagram page, he was wearing the same clothing as one of the suspects in the surveillance video from the crime scenes. Before he could be arrested and brought to justice for Simmons’ murder, Freeman died in a car accident on July 3, 2016. Malcolm was eventually arrested on March 8, 2017.

MALCOLM was found guilty of FELONY MURDER, PARTICIPATION IN A CRIMINAL STREET GANG, AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON. Malcolm was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON.    

Judge Henry Newkirk, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Deputy Assistant District Attorney Deah Warren prosecuted the case. She was assisted by Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Seleta Griffin and Investigator Kletis Sloan of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective D. Smith of the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in the case.