One of three men charged in the January 2014 murder of a woman during a home invasion robbery was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty Friday.
Willie O'Brian Baldwin, of Honeycutt Drive, was scheduled for trial Monday but entered the plea Friday instead, said Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew.
Baldwin was charged, along with Randolph Christopher Johnson, 24, of Eagle Villas Apartments, and Earl Mathis Conyers, 22, of College Vue Apartments, in the Jan. 26, 2014, shooting death of 39-year-old Joy Lee Ann Brown at an Oak Hill Mobile Home Park residence off Highway 301 North.
Muldrew said both Johnson and Conyers face trial for the charges but will be tried separately according to state law. No dates have been set for their trials, he said Monday.
Baldwin pled guilty to and was sentenced for felony murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft by taking (firearm) and criminal street gang activity, Muldrew said. A charge of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime was dropped, and charges of armed robbery, burglary and aggravated assault were encompassed within the felony murder charge, he said.
Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner sentenced Baldwin to life, plus 15 years, to serve concurrently, Muldrew said.
Bulloch County sheriff's deputies found Brown's body at 12:35 a.m. on Jan. 26 in the Oak Hill Mobile Home Park residence. An autopsy conducted the next day at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Coastal Regional Crime Lab indicated that Brown was the victim of a homicide. Brown was shot to death, according to reports.
Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said at the time of the arrests that investigators logged "hundreds of man-hours" on the investigation and that the arrests were based on tips provided by the community and information gathered through dozens of interviews and the execution of several search warrants in apartments near the Georgia Southern University campus.
"We'd like to thank Sheriff Lynn Anderson, his department and Investigator Walter Deal for the hard work they put into solving this crime," Muldrew said Monday.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.