COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Georgia Supreme Court Wednesday reversed two murder convictions in a high-profile 2016 Peachtree Mall gang-related shooting.
The high court ruled that then Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan erred when he dismissed an obstinate juror during deliberations. After that juror was removed, the Superior Court jury subsequently convicted the defendants.
The 2017 convictions of Xzavaien Jones and Terrell McFarland in the shooting death of Anthony Meredith were reversed and the cases have been sent back to Muscogee County.
Tekoa Young was also convicted of Meredith’s murder, but her appeal is pending.
“Although the record may well have supported findings authorizing the trial court to remove the juror, the findings that the trial court actually made and to which our review is limited were not sufficient to justify removal,” the ruling stated. “Because the trial court abused its discretion in removing the juror, we Reverse.”
Jordan has since retired.
Prosecutors said Jones shot Meredith, 24, multiple times to avenge the 2015 death of Young’s boyfriend, Christopher Twitty, who was thought to be a Crip. The other co-defendants allegedly looked on during the shooting at Peachtree Mall.
The mall shooting happened Saturday of Easter weekend in March 2016.
McFarland and Jones and sent back to Muscogee County for re-trial.
Jones was sentenced to life in prison for malice murder, five consecutive years in prison for the firearm charge, and fifteen concurrent years in prison for the gang-act violation; the trial court merged the remaining counts into Jones’s malice murder conviction. McFarland was sentenced to life imprisonment for malice murder and five consecutive years in prison for the gang-act violation; the trial court merged the remaining counts into McFarland’s malice murder charge.
Young was sentenced to life imprisonment for malice murder and a concurrent sentence of five years for the gang-act violation.
According to court testimony, they were members of the Crips street gang.