Stone Mountain Man Convicted of Murdering Cousin in Atlanta Apartment Complex

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DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston has announced the conviction of a Stone Mountain man in a jury trial for the shooting and killing of his cousin. Michael Blair Stewart, Jr., 35, was found guilty on Thursday, February 22, of Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony in connection to the death of his cousin Jireh Morris, 30, on December 5, 2020.

The investigation revealed that Morris had called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. to report being shot. Phone records showed that Morris had arranged to meet Stewart at an apartment complex in Atlanta to work on a song together. Despite a recent reconnection due to their shared passion for music, Morris identified his cousin as the shooter seven times during the 17-minute 911 call.

A witness testified that they heard gunshots and saw Morris driving slowly through the parking lot until his car hit a tree. DeKalb County Police officers arrived at the scene and attempted lifesaving measures, but Morris was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital. An autopsy revealed he died from three gunshot wounds, though a motive for the murder was not determined.

Following the guilty verdicts, DeKalb County Judge Brian K. Ross sentenced Stewart to Life in Prison plus five years. The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys Helen Pott and Whitney Reeves, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Curtis Averhart and Victim Advocate Jozlyn Varnedoe. DeKalb County Police Department Detective B.R. Smith led the initial investigation.