Jury delivers verdict in Albany double murder trial
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A jury returned a verdict on Thursday for the 2017 murders of two Albany teens.
Joseph Jones III was found guilty of two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm.
Jones was charged with all six counts in the shooting deaths of Jalen Walker, 15, and Quatez Strong, 18.
Albany Police said officers responded to the 1600 block of Beverly Avenue around 2:45 a.m. on April 22, 2017, after 911 received multiple calls about hearing gunshots.
Prosecutors said Jones opened fired at the two victims while they were in their car.
Walker was found dead at the scene and Strong was taken to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and flown to Macon where he later died.
Jones claimed the shooting was in self-defense after he said the teens shot at him first. However, prosecutors said investigators found no guns in the victims' car.
The Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office told WALB the judge said Jones' sentencing will be held on a later date.
The family of the victims in the case said it was every count that counted in today’s verdict, and they tell me they are relieved that a person like Joseph Jones can be off the streets permanently.
“We don’t have to worry about him killing no more kids,” said victim Quatez Strong’s mother Stefanie Starling.
“It’s more scarier now because it really hit home. We have other kids, and when they go somewhere we feel the same way. It’s real hard, because I don’t like for mine to go no where now. My son can’t walk to the store no more,” said Melissa Walker, a family member of one of the victims.
Jalen Walker’s mother said the day was too emotional to put into words, but Quatez Strong’s mother said it was a small step forward.
“I’m still looking for peace right now, but I have justice today,” said Starling.
The victim's family sends him a message.
“You damaged families, kids, brothers sisters, all of that, you took away a whole lot of joy,” said Walker.
Edwards said he hopes this wakes up the community.
“This verdict we believe sends a clear message that the citizens of Dougherty county will not tolerate this type of senseless violence,” said Edwards.
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