COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus man charged with the 2019 shooting death of Jaylin Williams during a botched robbery appeared in Superior Court on Wednesday.

Gerald Wayne Reed one of four originally charged with murder faced Superior Court Judge John Martin who was sentenced under a plea deal made nearly three years ago by Former District Attorney Mark Jones’ office.

The current prosecutor on Reed’s case, District Attorney Lewis Lamb for the Southwest Georgia Circuit, had to try the case based on Reed’s plea deal. Lamb says he would have pulled the deal off the table and tried Reed for the murder of Williams if he could have found a legal avenue to void the plea.

“The agreement had already been reached. It had already been made. The promises had already been made in terms of dismissing certain charges.  In effect, building in a leniency that I would have not agreed to,” Lewis said.

Martin told Reed that he caught a break. The judge said after the Aug. 1 conviction of Jordan Seldon in Williams’ murder, he was “99 percent sure” that Reed, too, would have been found guilty of the most serious charge.

Lewis further explained his reasoning for not placing Reed on the witness stand, stating that Reed is not credible because he was he orchestrated the robbery that resulted in murder. Part of the deal was that Reed testifies truthfully.

The judge noted that because Reed did not testify, the state got nothing out of the deal.

After three long years of waiting for justice to be served to those accused of taking her son’s life, Angel King says she was hoping that Reed would receive the maximum punishment for his crime.

“It’s not going to stop. It’s not going to get any better. So, I ask that when you give him his time, that you remember what’s going on in Columbus, Georgia. It’s not going to stop, we have to depend on you to stop this,” stated King.

Martin told King he wished he had an answer for her.

“I think ma’am that there is no answer,” the judge said. “I don’t think God’s going to give you an answer as to why it happened other than people care so little about human life and human dignity that they are willing to go take it from somebody at the end of the barrel of a gun. They don’t give a damn who it is. That’s the answer if you want to know the truth.” 

Reed was ordered to serve the maximum sentence; 25 years in prison.

King struggled with the outcome of Reed’s trial solely due to the personal relationship involved in the case.

“And to find out that your mom took care of both of my kids – Bart and my daughter,” King told the court during the victim’s impact statement. “You and your brothers played ball with my baby in Little League. And to find out that you grow up and you turn into this.”

During his sentencing, Reed pleaded with the victim’s mother for forgiveness after making a decision that cost someone else their life.

“I can tell you one day, if this higher power can put their strength that you do forgive me,” Reed said. “The person you are seeing, never was I raised like that.”