Defendants shot victim multiple times during armed robbery attempt
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the ATTEMPTED MURDER and PARTICIPATION IN CRIMINAL STREET GANG ACTIVITY conviction, by a non-negotiated guilty plea, of 21-year-old DEVIN DURHAM, 20-year-old NAYA HUNTER, and 20-year-old JALEN HUNT.
A week prior to March 28, 2018, 25-year-old Amontae Barnes met Naya Hunter at a gas station in Austell. At that time, Barnes and Hunter exchanged phone numbers. After their initial meeting, Barnes sent Hunter a text message that contained a picture which showed a large sum of cash. It was an attempt by Barnes to impress Hunter so she might show interest in a future meetup. On March 28, 2018, Hunter contacted Barnes and asked if he would like to get together. Hunter provided Barnes with her address, and he arrived at her apartment complex, along Rambling Drive SW in Atlanta, a short time later.
After Barnes arrived, Hunter told Barnes she needed to call someone in an attempt to obtain marijuana. As they were sitting on the steps of the breezeway, Devin Durham approached and greeted Hunter and Barnes. Moments later, Jalen Hunt appeared. Hunt brandished a firearm and demanded Barnes,
“Give it up!”
When Barnes refused Hunt’s demand, Hunt shot Barnes in the hand. Barnes attempted to escape down the steps of the building breezeway but Hunt followed behind and shot Barnes seven more times. Hunt, Durham, and Hunter fled the scene. Barnes suffered gunshot wounds to his torso, arm, and back. Doctors had to remove a portion of the victim’s intestine, and Barnes does not have full function of his left leg.
Phone records later connected Hunter, Hunt, and Durham to the crime. Investigators also discovered the three individuals are members of a subset of a prominent Atlanta criminal street gang. Durham and Hunter were also members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Atlanta Metropolitan College when they committed the crime.
During sentencing, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall expressed his frustration with violent crime and gang activity in his comments to the defendants on behalf of the community.
“I really don’t have any sympathy for any of you. I give out mercy every day, but we’ve got to send a message; gangs, guns, gone. You’re in a gang, you have guns, you are going to prison. That’s the message I want to send loudly and clear.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. agreed with Judge Schwall’s position.
“Atlanta criminal street gangs continue to grow and prosper within our community. It’s hard to understand why young people who are enrolled in college, are members of a college basketball team, with a life full of promise and opportunity ahead of them, are somehow attracted to illegal street gang activity. But, until we answer that fundamental question, gang activity will continue to plague our community.”
HUNT, DURHAM, AND HUNTER entered a non-negotiated guilty plea and were convicted of CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT MURDER, PARTICIPATION IN ILLEGAL STREET GANG ACTIVITY, CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT ARMED ROBBERY, AGGRAVATED BATTERY, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, and POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY.
HUNT was sentenced to 25 years to serve 20, balance probated
DURHAM was sentenced to 15 years to serve 10, balance probated
HUNTER was sentenced to 15 years to serve 10, balance probated
Judge Craig Schwall, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Assistant District Attorney Adam Petty led the prosecution of the case. He was assisted by Deputy District Attorney Cara Convery and Investigator Marvice Smith of The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office Gang Unit. Investigator Weber from the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in the case.