Life in Prison for Moultrie Murder

By: Kara Duffy Email
By: Kara Duffy Email

Moultrie, GA- Phirronnius Edwards broke down after being sentenced to life plus five years in prison for the 2011 murder and robbery of Billy Hewitt, Jr.

Family members on both sides were emotional as Edwards was found guilty on all four charges: felony murder, armed robbery, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Family members of Edwards did not want to comment. However, family and friends of Hewitt say they're happy with the jury's decision and hope it will bring them some closure.

"I'm ecstatic, you know, we got justice, because we're a close knit family and he was a good child," said Hewitt's family friend, Mary Thomas. "He didn't deserve to die that way, he really didn't. He was so good and we all loved him."

Hewitt's father, Billy Hewitt, Sr. added, "It's made, I imagine, my son feel better, even if he is dead and I'd imagine their family is glad it's over with too. It hurt both sides of the family and we're really glad it's resolved."

Jurors believe Edwards robbed Hewitt then shot him twice outside of his home in Moultrie on September 23, 2011. Michael Russell has also been charged for his role in Hewitt's death.

"Unfortunately, this verdict will mean that a young man will spend a considerable amount of time away from this family and his kids," said Johnnie Graham, the Defense Attorney for Edwards.

Edwards was taken away by Colquitt County Sheriff's Deputies immediately after his sentencing.
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It took a jury nearly four hours to find Edwards guilty of felony murder, armed robbery, and two counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony for the killing of Billy Hewitt, Jr.

A judge sentenced Edwards to life in prison plus five years.


Moultrie, GA - The jury has returned with a verdict. Edwards was found guilty on all four counts and sentenced to life in prison.


Moultrie, GA - The fate of a man accused of murdering and robbing 29 year-old Billy Hewitt, Jr. from Moultrie is now in the hands of a jury.

During closing arguments Wednesday morning the defense argued that Michael Russell was not a credible source for testimony. The attorney said the timeline of events on September 23, 2011 didn't add up and that Edwards is not guilty.

The State says that surveillance video, phone records and testimony from multiple witnesses shows that Edwards is guilty of murdering and robbing Hewitt.

A verdict is expected this afternoon.


Moultrie, GA - December 4, 2012 - The murder trial is underway in Moultrie for one of the men charged in the 2011 shooting death and robbery of 29 year-old Billy Hewitt, Jr.

"He was one of the greatest boys that you could ever meet," said Billy Hewitt, Sr. "He's just a wonderful fellow. He was no trouble to the family, or no other family."

Prosecutors say Phirronnius Jamesquae Edwards, known as PJ, and Michael Russell planned for days to rob Hewitt after he got off work around midnight on Sept.23, 2011. Russell worked with Hewitt at a meatpacking plant in Moultrie.

Russell was also indicted in Hewitt's death, but entered a guilty plea to armed robbery. He took the stand Tuesday morning to testify against Edwards.

Russell told jurors he and Edwards followed Hewitt to a Chevron gas station in Moultrie after their shift, then to Hewitt's house. He said Edwards was supposed to just rob Hewitt, but when Hewitt fought back, Edwards allegedly shot him twice.

Neighbors of Hewitt testified they heard their glass window break. They said they first thought someone was trying to break into their house so they called the police. They soon discovered it was Hewitt laying on their porch. He had ran across to street to get help and was trying to get their attention.

The first Colquitt County Sheriff Deputy to arrive at the scene told jurors Hewitt was conscious when he arrived. He said Hewitt told him he had been robbed and shot. The deputy testified that Hewitt was, "begging for me to save his life."

Russell testified that when the two men left the scene they didn't think Hewitt was dead. They then went to Waffle House for breakfast.

Edwards is charged with felony murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Testimony will continue Wednesday.


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