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Two African-American Women Die From Gunshots Over Memorial Day Weekend in Middle Georgia

By Dave Oedel

Memorial Day weekend this year in Middle Georgia will not only invite recall of the nation’s fallen veterans. Two fresh casualties of civilian gun violence in Middle Georgia are now associated with Memorial Day 2015 – two African-American women.

On Friday, May 22, 2015 at 316 West Thomas Street in Milledgeville, Jaquisha Smith and her mother were both shot.  Jaquisha Smith later died of multiple wounds to her chest and arm at Oconee Regional Medical Center.

Early the next morning in Macon, La’Smockie Fountain, 30, was found dead, with a gunshot wound to her head, behind the home of her grandmother at 3565 Case Street south of Mumford Road in Macon.  Fountain’s grandmother heard two gunshots about 5:30 in the morning of May 23, 2015, and soon after found Fountain’s body behind the home.

Derrick Booze, 38, who had … Continue Reading

Is Johntellis Mathis Suffering Retribution for Speaking Out?


From Macon Monitor Staff Reports, supervised by Dave Oedel

Both the Georgia and U.S. Constitutions in theory shield individuals from governmental retaliation against those who speak out against perceived governmental indiscretion.

Macon citizen Johntellis Mathis, along with another Macon citizen, G-Rell, spoke out against prosecutorial over-aggressiveness with respect to gang affiliation last week in the Macon Monitor. Among other things, both men suggested that gang affiliation is not a fair basis in local context for holding people to lengthy prison terms in addition to the terms imposed for whatever crimes that those individual defendants may have committed. Mathis’ picture appears with this post.

Mathis, who noted his own personal affiliations with the GD and Blacc Team gangs, suggested in his interview with the Macon Monitor that the police and gangs in Macon might get together to rid the community of guns held by people without a legal right to wield them.

That olive branch was not picked up. Instead, Mathis became … Continue Reading

Should Fort Valley Arm Up to Gun Down the Serial Rapist?

By Dave Oedel

Fort Valley homes over the past several weeks have been the scenes of two rapes, two attempted rapes, and several other suspiciously similar situations of attempted entry. All instances have involved a single masked intruder apparently intent on rape, rather than stealing or murder — though that’s subject to change at the intruder’s whim.

The Telegraph in a May 7, 2015 editorial opined that the key to ending the menace is for the Fort Valley community to take steps to do so on their own because “[l]aw enforcement can’t be at every doorstep.”

But then the Telegraph conspicuously omitted mention of the most obvious step — encouraging homeowners to arm up in order to be prepared if necessary to gun down the masked assailant. This option has not been lost on the public, even if it has been implicitly rejected by the Telegraph. For instance, a commenter on an earlier Telegraph story on the subject, James Gay, wryly wrote on April 28, 2015, “I suppose he’ll keep doing it until he invades a home with a gun.”

In its May 7, 2015 editorial, the Telegraph instead urged Fort Valley residents … Continue Reading

Highlights of the Sentencing Hearing in Andre Bonner’s Zodiac Murder Case

By Dave Oedel

After Andre Bonner, 32, was convicted on May 2, 2015 by a jury in Bibb County, Georgia, of murder and other charges for the 2013 killing at Macon’s Zodiac Lounge of Jamonni Bland, 17, Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms sentenced Bonner on May 6, 2015 to life without the possibility of parole. Then Simms tacked on 15 years for gang-affiliated charges, plus 5 more for gun possession by a felon. The extra time was largely an idle gesture in Bonner’s case, but was apparently intended to make a meaningful point to those claiming affiliation with the Westside Mafia.

I attended the sentencing hearing, and it was interesting in several ways.

First, there was little to nothing offered in the way of testimonials on behalf either of the victim, Bland, or the defendant, Bonner. Both of them seem to have been largely adrift in their communities.

After hammering the powerful evidence on the basic murder charges, prosecutor Sandra Matson … Continue Reading

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