Camilla mother upset over plea deal in son’s Albany death

Camilla mother upset over plea deal in son’s Albany death

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Camilla mother is furious after learning two men charged in her son’s death will not spend any time behind bars.

This comes after the men entered pleas this week, for the teen’s death outside a South Albany apartment complex in 2016.

Bridgette Watkins, D’Arius Keys’ mother, said at that hearing this week, she was furious over what was said.

A Camilla mother demands answers in her son's death, as prosecutors say the man charged with killing him... still awaits trial (Source: WALB)
A Camilla mother demands answers in her son's death, as prosecutors say the man charged with killing him... still awaits trial (Source: WALB)

But now, she’s trying to find peace and move forward.

“I was broken. I was hurt because it took them almost three years to say accident,” said Watkins.

Watkins is in a state of shock after prosecutors said the death of her 19-year-old son was accidental.

“But it shouldn’t have taken them that long to tell me. So yes, I was hurt,” said Watkins.

Prosecutors said Keys was shot in 2016 outside the Cedar Apartment Complex in Albany.

Originally, DeAntre Butler was charged with felony murder and other charges. And Brandon Hallman was indicted for tampering with evidence.

But that all changed after further investigation.

“The duty of the district attorney and the district attorney’s office is to seek justice and find the truth of the situation. And our best finding here was that this was an accident,” said Gregory W. Edwards, District Attorney for Dougherty Judicial Circuit.

In 2016, officials said Butler and Keys were in a car together. That's when they believe Keys was shot once and killed.

They also said there was disagreement between the two earlier that week.

Watkins is finding the accidental death all hard to believe.

“No, I’m not okay with how they handled it. The things that were said. The things that were done. But I’m okay with moving forward,” said Watkins.

Watkins is moving forward, but questions how Butler, who is her nephew, could leave the scene.

“If he had mistakenly shot DeAntre, D’Arius would have stayed right there,” said Watkins.

Prosecutors said they didn’t find any malice with this case and that’s why they came to a resolution to give Butler a felony involuntary manslaughter charge.

Watkins said this hurts, but she is ready to find peace and carry on her son’s legacy.

“I’m going to forever fight for D’Arius because I’m going to forever be his voice. Like I said, I’m going to always speak out,” said Watkins.

Watkins also said despite what happened, she’s going to continue to speak out on gun violence and gun awareness. She’s planning several events for this year.

Butler pleads guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation.

Hallman pleads guilty to tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to six years of probation.

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