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Killers of local man off to prison

By Walter Geiger The young killers of Barnesville’s Roderick Crawford have been sentenced to long prison terms after entering guilty pleas. Keira Mitchelle Williams quietly entered guilty pleas to malice murder and kidnapping Oct. 8, 2019. Judge Fletcher Sams sentenced her to life in prison plus 20 years. Williams, now serving her time at Pulaski State Prison, agreed to testify against co-defendant Cameron Jones. Jones walked into court in Fayette County Feb. 20 for hearings before Judge Sams on a change of venue and other motions and surprised everyone by saying he wanted to plead guilty and accept the last plea deal offered by the prosecution which had been taken off the table. The offer was resuscitated and Jones pleaded guilty to malice murder and aggravated assault. He also got life plus 20 years and will very likely die in prison. ‘He is certainly not a model prisoner,’ GBI case agent Josh Ayer said. The body of Crawford, 46, was found behind a mobile home at 1414 Grantling Street in the crime-ridden Lincoln Park area of Thomaston. He left his home on Howard Road at 7 p.m. Dec. 28, 2018, telling his sons he was going to check his driving schedule at J&M Trucking. His wife missed a call from him at 7:19 p.m. and his phone was disabled soon thereafter. He was never heard from again. Investigators say Crawford contacted then 18-year-old prostitute Keira Williams through an online escort service and met her in Upson County. The victim’s phone was last pinged in the area of downtown Thomaston. At a preliminary hearing last February, Ayer testified Lamar sheriff Brad White and his personnel got Crawford’s phone records after he disappeared Dec. 28 and the last 37 texts were to Williams at a number she listed on an ad for an online escort service. Sheriff White contacted Clayton sheriff Victor Hill who already had an investigation underway involving another murder and a carjacking in which Williams was a suspect. She was eventually arrested and questioned by Ayer. Williams confessed and assisted authorities in searching for Crawford’s body on Jan. 3, 2019 but it got dark. Later she gave a property description and Upson deputy Heath Eppinger recognized it as the trailer where Jones’ grandparents once lived at 1414 Grantling St. in Lincoln Park. Eppinger went there and found Crawford’s body. Ayer testified Williams told him she met Crawford at Handy Mart in Thomaston and got in his Dodge Nitro. Jones snuck up on the vehicle and forced Crawford into the backseat. There, Crawford and Jones struggled for a 9 mm. handgun and Crawford was shot. Williams drove to the Grantling Street trailer where Crawford continued to try to fight off Jones. According to Ayer, Williams said Crawford begged for his life and to be able to go home, noting he had a wife and kids and had ‘never done anything like this before’. ”Crawford tried to get away and Kiera Williams shot him in the back of the head because Cameron Jones would not do what he was supposed to do,” Ayer testified. In court, Ayer gave information on the three other cases tied to the same suspects as the Crawford murder. A synopsis of those cases based on Ayer’s testimony follows: Abreham Degaga: Degaga reported being carjacked on Dec. 13, 2018. He originally did not want to admit he had called an escort service but eventually revealed he had called the same number Roderick Crawford did. He met Williams at an abandoned apartment in Clayton County. Jones was there. The pair robbed and assaulted Degaga at gunpoint, taking his wallet, phone and two unique watches. Williams and Jones tried to put Degaga in the trunk of his BMW. Due to an array of speakers in the trunk, he would not fit. He was placed inside the BMW and claims he eventually escaped. The investigation revealed the watches were pawned by Williams. When the BMW was later found in Thomaston, fingerprints matching both Williams and Jones were found in it. In the trunk was an ID for Mario Edwards. Mario Edwards: Edwards, a FedEx employee, was reported missing in Newton County. He was found dead in the same apartment Williams and Jones had lured Degaga to. He had been shot in the abdomen. He had called the same escort service as Degaga and Crawford. Edwards’ wallet, phone, wedding ring and GMC Sierra were stolen. The truck was later recovered in Atlanta. Evidence showed Edwards put up a fierce fight for his life before he died. His credit card was charged for $900 through a Square account and the money went to Ashanti Dorsey. Dorsey is charged with killing her boyfriend Jan. 2, 2019 and allegedly trained Williams in her craft. Investigators identified Cameron Jones as Williams’ current boyfriend. They also learned Williams had been making money as a prostitute when she met Jones but then switched from hooking and started robbing her clients. The Clayton County vice squad contacted Williams through the escort service number. She gave them the address of a Thomaston home where Jones lived with his father. William Mitchell: All these developments led to a big meeting of law enforcement officials in Clayton County at which the cases were discussed. At that meeting it was learned William Mitchell went to the emergency room the previous evening. He had contacted the same escort service. He identified Williams and Jones. Mitchell was sitting in his vehicle with Williams when he saw Jones approaching. Realizing what was going on, Mitchell fled. As he did, he was shot in the hip by either Jones or Williams. The following day, the Clayton County fugitive squad caught Williams and Jones at an abandoned residence in Dekalb County which led to Williams’ interview with Ayer and her subsequent confession. (Editor’s note: Previous court documents, warrants, etc. identified Williams as Kiera Michelle Williams. Her sentencing document and the state department of corrections list her as Keira Mitchelle Williams.)

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