Defendant shot victim three times in the chest
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the GUILTY PLEA of 24-year-old MARKEL WOODS.
On June 29, 2018, around 2:30am, Markel Woods and his girlfriend 30-year-old Yolanda Hodges were visiting a convenience store along Forsyth Street in Atlanta. At that time, Woods and Hodges encountered 38-year-old Earl Wade. Wade engaged in an argument with Hodges and Woods, at which point, Wade brandished a .380 handgun and fired it in the direction of Hodges and Woods. The bullet struck Hodges in the leg and Wade ran from the scene. Atlanta Police responded to the convenience store, and Hodges was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Woods stayed behind and was captured by nearby surveillance cameras, one hour later at 3:47am, approaching Wade and his mother, 57-year-old Heidi Cooper, at the Greyhound Bus station across the street from the convenience store where the prior altercation occurred. As Woods inched closer to Cooper and Wade, the defendant brandished a handgun, pointed it with his outstretched arm, and fired three shots into Cooper’s chest. Woods immediately ran from the area, but surveillance cameras captured the entire incident. Cooper died at the scene from the three gunshot wounds to the chest.
APD arrested Woods on July 13, 2018. Social media posts on Woods’ Instagram page following Cooper’s murder showed the defendant and his girlfriend, Hodges, together on the beach. Hodges was seen wearing a large bandage in the area where she suffered the gunshot wound. Two of the posts contained the following captions,
“My Hurt My World #TilDeathDoUs.”
“Me and MY BABY Rocking no matter what they say it ain’t nothing but loyalty her J”
WOODS pled guilty to MURDER and POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A CONVICTED FELON.
Woods was sentenced to
40 YEARS TO SERVE IN PRISON.
Judge Kelly Lee Ellerbe, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Assistant District Attorney Gautam Rao led the prosecution of the case. He was assisted by Deputy District Attorney Pat Dutcher, Investigator Fred Glenn, and Victim-Witness-Advocate Afrika Cotton of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective S. Benton from the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in this case.