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April 6, 2014

Mother describes loss

Crime victims luncheon here sees record crowd

MOULTRIE — A mother who lost her son in a 2011 robbery detailed what the loss meant to her and her family during a Friday ceremony and luncheon for crime victims — the largest gathering since this event was begun.

Dorothy Jones told the audience at Colquitt County Courthouse Annex that Billy Hewlett was dedicated to his family, education and work. Hewitt maintained perfect attendance through his time in Colquitt County Schools and at his job at National Beef.

Hewitt, 29, was fatally shot on Sept. 23, 2011, outside his 29th Avenue Northwest residence.

“While Billy was in high school, he worked hard in his studied, he played football and he worked at Harvey’s grocery store,” Jones said.

At the time of his death, Hewitt “was at Valdosta State for two years and he was one class shy of graduating with his degree,” she said. “Billy was also working during this time at National Beef in order to put himself through school, and he did not complete his degree due to the demands of his job.”

When Jones needed help with her mother in order to continue working, she said that Hewitt checked on his grandmother every morning and prepared her lunch. He also checked on his father, and eight months before he died discovered that he had a 3-year-old son.

“He was now a proud parent,” Jones said. “Billy’s son cries often about his father and talks about how he wants to see his father. The family is left having to explain to a 3-year-old what has happened to Billy.

“Billy was so excited about his son, Ahmad, and I recently remember Billy saying that if he only had one dollar in his pocket and his son needed it, he would give it to him. That’s how much Billy cared for his family.”

In December 2012, 24-year-old Phirronnius Edwards was convicted of felony murder and possession of a firearm during a crime. He was sentenced to life plus five years in prison, and is expected to serve 30 years before being considered for parole.

In May 2013, Michael Jamar Russell was sentenced to a 20-year-prison term. Russell entered a guilty plea and testified at Edwards’ trial.

Edwards had worked at National Beef with Hewitt and prosecutors said that Hewitt was known to carry a large amount of cash on him.

“Material things can be replaced and I wish it were that those men who robbed and killed my son would have gotten the things that they wanted and left my son his life,” Jones said. “My son’s life cannot be replaced, and now a young boy will grow up not knowing what it is like to have a father in his life. So much love and passion was taken from us for a few dollars and a debit card.”

The Colquitt County District Attorney’s office said that attendance at this year’s ceremony for victims was the largest since the annual event has been held.

“Ms. Hewitt did a wonderful job,” Assistant District Attorney Brian McDaniel said. “It’s hard to speak about a loss like this in front of a lot of people.”



 

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